The use of coal as a power source has been in decline as more countries turn to renewable energy and those with lower emissions to fuel their economies, but now it appears that coal is more expensive to produce than wind and solar power too.
A new report from Energy Innovation revealed that energy generated by 74 per cent of the American coal fleet could be generated cheaper by wind and solar. By 2025, this could increase to 86 per cent, meaning that savings could be made by sourcing energy from other sources.
The analysis also recommends that coal plants be shut down and replaced by renewable energy plants because their ongoing maintenance, fuel and other costs now exceed the all-in costs of setting up new wind and solar projects in most instances.
Co-author of the report Mike O’Boyle told the Guardian that even without a major policy change from the Trump administration, basic economics will mean that it is likely that coal will cease to be a viable energy source in many places.
“Our analysis shows that we can move a lot faster to replace coal with wind and solar. The fact that so much coal could be retired right now shows we are off the pace,” he commented.
What’s happening in the US could also be a lesson to other parts of the world that are still reliant on coal as a power source.
In the UK, there is a growing push for renewable energy. In February, the Guardian revealed that one of the country’s last remaining coal power plants will, unfortunately, close in September this year due to rising costs. Cottam plant in Nottinghamshire is not considered to be economically viable any longer.
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