Which Renewable Energy Source Is The Cheapest?

As it seems the health of earth is rapidly declining, it is extremely important that proactive measures are taken to combat this issue.

One of the most common and talked about concepts in regards to this is the use and regulation of renewable energy forms, instead of burning fossils fuels which can be damaging to the environment.

While steps towards normalization of these processes are underway, unfortunately, for some it simply isn’t a reality, because of how costly these programs can get.

Discussion of cheap and realistic renewable energy sources is crucial at a time like this.


Hydroelectric energy is produced through water and power plants. Essentially, this renewable energy is created from falling water, and then converted into energy that can be used to power electricity, among other things.

Generally speaking, the price of this energy form has dropped to about 5 cents per kilowatt hour, however, unfortunately, it cannot be said that this is a form of cheap energy just yet.

Creating hydroelectric power plants in and of itself can cost thousands of dollars. Additionally, this isn’t simply a one-and-done installation process, as constant maintenance of this will have to be made and paid for, to ensure that the plant is still working as it should be.


In regards to cheap energy, using wind as a power source is similar to hydroelectricity when it comes to prices, as is it about six cents per kWh. Again however, the cheapness in that area is made up elsewhere, as installation of wind turbines can get very pricey. The typical sized commercial turbines used today can cost anywhere from 1-4 million dollars to install.


When it comes to producing actual energy, biomass as a renewable energy source can cost around 10 cents per kilowatt hour. In regards to the other forms mentioned, this can seem a bit more costly, but only by a few cents.

This energy form is very beneficial, because of the fact that it is mostly natural. Biomass energy is simply dedicating growth of energy crops and other forms of plant and animal material to be used to produce energy

As far as installation costs, biomass energy can prove to be a lot cheaper, for the fact that in a lot of cases, it can be burned in already existing power plants to produce energy. This means that beginning costs can be as little as zero dollars. However, designated certain areas of land to the production of biomass crops in turn can cost money in the long run.

This is because this area will take up places that usually would be to grow food for consumption. This will cause farmers to lose money, in turn, making the price for a lot of crops and meats go up in stores.


One of the most discussed and normalized forms of renewable energy is solar energy. Part of the reason is because it does not emit any waste, and by a lot of standards, this is a form of cheap energy, because it costs around 10 cents per kWh as well.

On average, installation of solar panels can save the typical household about $3000 a year in electricity bills.

Solar panels themselves, however, cost tens of thousands of dollars to buy, and about the same to install by a professional.

Maintenance will also be a cost when it comes to this energy form, however in general they are very durable, and should be able to last anywhere from 20 to 30 years without any.


In short, it can be difficult to determine exactly what source of renewable energy is the cheapest, simply because the prices to actually burn the energy are not the final costs.

Things like installation, and maintenance have to be taken into account when it comes to determining the cost in totality.

It seems as though most energy forms have benefits in one area, but have set backs in others that should also be considered when it comes to deciding which form is best for common implementation.

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Reed Hamilton

Mason Reed Hamilton: Mason, a political analyst, provides insights on U.S. politics, election coverage, and policy analysis.