New research from Energy Innovation and Vibrant Clean Energy VCE shows the U S has officially reached the coal cost crossover point where fast falling wind and solar prices make simply operating three quarters of all existing coal generation plants more expensive than building new local renewable energy.
In 2018 74 of the national coal fleet was at risk meaning the plants could be replaced with new wind or solar generation within 35 miles of each plant cheaper than the combined fuel maintenance and other going forward costs of running those plants By 2025 at risk coal increases to a whopping 86 of the entire existing U S generation fleet even as federal renewable energy tax credits phase out.
Cost of operating existing coal fired power plants compared with building new wind or solar within 35 miles 2018.
The coal cost crossover raises serious questions for regulators and utilities as to why these coal plants should keep running unprofitably and at extra cost to consumers instead of being replaced with new renewable energy generation.
The new Energy Innovation VCE analysis uses multiple data sources to compare each coal plants marginal cost of energy MCOE to the lowest levelized cost of energy LCOE for wind or solar resources within 35 miles of that plant to determine if it has reached the coal cost crossover point.
In 2018 211 gigawatts GW of existing U S coal capacity were at risk and operating at higher costs for consumers than cheaper wind and solar energy and by 2025 that number jumps to 246 GW.
Cost of operating existing coal fired power plants compared with building new wind or solar within 35 miles 2025.
Previous research has shown solar photovoltaic energy prices fell 90 and onshore wind prices declined 65 in the past decade and our new analysis reveals pricing for new renewable energy generation as low as 15 per megawatt hour MWh for wind and 28MWh for solar.
Oct 08 2017nbsp018332The new plants would expand the worlds coal fired power capacity by 43 per cent The fleet of new coal plants would make it virtually impossible to meet the goals set in.
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