It would be cheaper to build new renewable energy capacity than it is to continue operating nearly every existing coal plant in the U.S., a new report from Energy Innovation finds. Of the country’s remaining 210 coal-fired power plants, more than 99% cost more to run than it would cost to replace them with new renewable energy, up from 62% in 2019. The nationwide median cost of existing coal power is $36/mW-h, compared to just $24/mWh for new solar.
The only cost-competitive coal plant to operate compared to building new renewables, Wyoming’s Dry Forks Station, is just $0.32/mW-h cheaper than new renewables. “Coal is unequivocally more expensive than wind and solar resources, it’s just no longer cost-competitive with renewables,” Michelle Solomon, a policy analyst at Energy Innovation, told The Guardian. “There’s a huge opportunity here to invest in coal communities, build local economic resilience and save money in the process.” (The Guardian, Bloomberg $, The Hill, Gizmodo, Inside Climate News, Washington Post $, Forbes $; Duke Energy: Energy News Network)