Nelder suspects the IEA is, in fact, underestimating again and that the competitiveness of renewables depends a lot on where the wind or solar generation is happening and on the power mix in the grid in those places.
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The IEA reports, for example, that some onshore wind is competitive with new gas-fired plants in Brazil, Chile, and Mexico. But it's not competitive in the United States, because natural gas there is very cheap at the moment. If U.S. natural gas prices were back up where they were a few years ago, wind would be cheaper in the states, Nelder explains.
"In Australia, wind is competitive with new coal- and gas-fired plants with carbon pricing, but only the best wind sites can compete without it," Nelder writes. "In oil-exporting countries of the Middle East, solar PV is cheaper than burning oil for power generation, because the value of exported oil is so much higher. And so on."
As for who the IEA is, they are an independent agency established in 1974 to promote energy security for its 28 member countries by responding to disruptions in oil supplies as well as to provide research on affordable clean energy.