Three quarters of US coal-fired power plants produce more expensive electricity than solar and wind power stations. A new study by Energy Innovation shows that the transition to renewable energy should be as fast as possible, writes The Guardian.
The authors used public financial documents and data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) to calculate the cost of energy produced by coal-fired power plants and compare it with local wind and solar energy at distances up to 35 miles. In their calculations, researchers compared marginal cost of coal (marginal cost of energy - MCOE) with the full cost of kilowatt of new wind and solar stations (LCOE).
It turned out that 211 GW of coal capacity or 74% of the US coal park produce more expensive electricity than could provide new wind or solar power plants. By 2025, the percentage of such "unprofitable" coal-fired power plants will increase to 86%. The general conclusion is evident, the authors point out: "Most US coal reserves simply become uneconomical, and analysts, utilities, other stakeholders, regulators and politicians should take a critical look at each coal-fired power plant in their jurisdiction." Therefore, coal-fired power plants in the United States are closing at a record pace, and electricity generation from "clean" sources has doubled since 2008. Currently, renewable energy sources account for about 17% of electricity production in the United States.