Rapid expansion of renewables can pay off

According to the findings, with rapid expansion of renewable energy sources, the cost advantages could come up to €54 billion by 2030. The renewable power plants are already in some cases producing electricity at lower costs compared to conventional power plants. On average, as the study states, every kWh from newly developed hydro, solar and wind power plants cost 3.1 Euro cents lesser than electricity from fossil sources.

Marcel Keiffenheim, Head of Energy Politics at Greenpeace Energy stated that this study thus shows that it is not only "ecologically correct" to continue pushing for more renewable energy sources, but also economically sensible. "Political attempts to slow the pace of the "energiewende" should be stopped," he said, adding "the further long-term we look, the more economical sense it makes to quickly expand hydro, solar and wind power now".

According to the study the cost advantage brought by renewable energies increases to €522 billion by 2050. Wind power is said to contribute the largest "net benefit" with €405 billion.

The authors of the report Lena Reuster und Swantje Küchler argue that the positive balance of renewable energy can be seen in two aspects. One fact is that nuclear and coal sources cause environmental damage and this damage has to be borne by the public. Every kWh of green electricity helps to prevent this environmental damage and thereby the resulting costs the public has to bear. Secondly costs for new renewable power plants keep decreasing as a result of technological advancements as well as the increasing activity in this field.

"The consequential costs of coal and nuclear power are consistently hidden in political debates with regards to electricity prices," Reuster also stressed.

The study was conducted by Green Budget Germany (known in German as Forum Ökologisch-Soziale Marktwirtschaft), a Berlin-based think tank on behalf of Greenpeace Energy.