Or maybe even by 2020 already. The Australian government’s Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics published its new Australian Energy Technology Assessment (AETA) on 31 July. Giles Parkinson has a summary of some key points and graphs here.
By 2030, some renewable energy sources such as solar and wind are expected to have the lowest levelised cost of energy. The levelised cost of energy reflects the minimum cost at which a generator must sell the produced electricity in order to break even. This metric allows comparison of technologies with different cost structures. For example, wind and solar have high upfront costs but very low operating costs because no fuel needs to be bought, whereas fossil fuel power plants have lower upfront costs but higher operating costs.
In 2050, solar photovoltaics is projected to be by far the cheapest energy source. A midpoint estimate is at around A$224/MWh now, around A$116/MWh by 2030 and A$86/MWh by 2050. But it might be as cheap as A$70/MWh by 2020 and A$30/MWh by 2050.
By comparison, brown coal, without a carbon price and CCS, is estimated at around A$100/MWh by 2020, nearly double that with a carbon price, and with CCS is costed between $150/MWh and $200/MWh, depending on the technology.
The report puts the average cost of onshore wind at A$116/MW now and in the low $90s/MW by 2025, with a gradual rise in costs afterwards.