The Financial Times mentioned a solar power plant in Portugal that settled at a selling auction of $17/MWh-electric. This price was described as “startling”. If you ask me, that’s something of an understatement.
For comparison, let’s look at natural gas spot prices. YCharts showed natural gas import prices in the EU to be at $5.15/MMBTU-thermal in November 2019. How much is that in $/MWh? $17.6/MWh. That’s right, this solar power plant in Portugal managed to secure a lower price for their electrical energy than Natural gas for its thermal energy! Think about it, conventional fossil fuel power plants first convert the chemical energy to heat and then convert that thermal energy into electrical energy in a heat engine that will end up wasting 2/3 (if not more) in the form of waste heat. The implication here being one could hook up a resistive heater to a boiler and generate electricity in a conventional manner using steam… but why would you even do that?
When renewable electricity becomes cheaper than fossil heat, that’s when the real disruption of fossil fuels starts to happen. I simply did not dare to think it would start happening this soon.