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Solar, Wind Power Reaching Tipping Point In U.S., Driving Fossil Fuel Prices Higher

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Renewable energy may finally be hitting a tipping point in the U.S.

A study from Bloomberg New Energy Finance finds that the rise in solar and wind power is now making it more expensive to produce fossil fuels, and that the trends will only continue to get stronger going forward.

Once solar and wind plants are built, the cost of producing wind and solar power is virtually free, whereas coal and natural gas plants require more fuel for every new watt produced.

With renewable energy adoption growing, and reliance on coal and natural gas diminishing, it will only make the cost of producing fossil fuels even more expensive in what the report called a self-reinforcing cycle.

"Renewables are really becoming cost-competitive, and they're competing more directly with fossil fuels," said BNEF analyst Luke Mills. "We're seeing the utilization rate of fossil fuels wear away."

The report says wind power became the cheapest electricity in the U.S. for the first time last year, while solar power costs continue to drop.

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