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Coal is losing the price war against wind and sun faster than expected

The cost of most existing coal-fired power plants in the United States is now more expensive than the total cost of wind and solar due to their plunge costs, according to a new study.

Coal versus wind and sun

American think tank Energy Innovation reports:

Today, local wind and solar can replace 80% of the US coal fleet with immediate savings for customers. This study provides an update to the report on coal crossing in 2019 and finds the original projection that three quarters of all coal plants would be uneconomical in 2025, was almost met in 2020.

In 201

9, 239 gigawatts (GW) of ball capacity was online in the United States. By 2020, 166 GW (72% of capacity in 2019) was either uneconomical compared to local wind or solar or due to retirement within five years. Out of a total of 235 American coal plants, 182 plants (80%) are uneconomical or are already retiring.

Energy Innovation’s report concludes:

Coal is a very polluting and expensive way to generate electricity. This analysis shows that we have economic alternatives to continue burning coal for power in the United States. In addition, analyzes such as the “2035 report” show that we can fully retire, stop building other fossil fuels (namely gas) and still reliably meet electricity needs, while providing a range of environmental and societal benefits. There are existing policies that can help decision makers carefully examine the cost burden of production resources used today, provide cheaper and cleaner production resources going forward, and address current assets in the books. Continuing and intensifying the overrun of coal costs requires the attention of both decision makers and consumers.

You can read the report in its entirety here.

Electrek’s Take

No wonder Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Cecil Roberts, president of the largest coal union in the United States, United Mine Workers of America, eventually (reluctantly on the part of Manchin) recognized the need for a transition from coal to renewable energy in Appalachia in April 19. Coal can no longer be justified in the United States, not only for environmental and societal reasons, but now also for economic reasons.

As can be seen from many social media comments on my stories of green energy, especially when it comes to Texas, the public is still buying the lies of the fossil fuel industry as well as the lies of their political supporters. But when the higher cost of fossil fuels hits consumers’ pockets, the lie will not be able to continue.

Coal could return worryingly to Asia, according to a recent report from the International Energy Agency. Energy and environmental groups expected that the use of fossil fuels would get worse before it got better.

There are issues that need to be addressed quickly in sustainable growth, such as the demand for, possible shortages and ethical purchases of minerals, and the urgent need for a major boost in sustainable production in the United States. But basically, coal is now the worst possible choice for energy on all fronts.

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