99% of US coal plants cost more to run than replace with new renewables, study finds

“There’s a huge opportunity here to invest in coal communities, build local economic resilience and save money in the process.”

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SOURCEEcoWatch

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 Fork Station, is just $0.32/mW-h cheaper than new renewables.

A train carrying cars loaded with coal near Dry Fork Station, a coal-fired power plant in Gillette, Wyoming, on May 8, 2017. Matt McClain / The Washington Post via Getty Images

“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.”

For a deeper dive:

The Guardian, Bloomberg, The Hill, Gizmodo, Inside Climate News, The Washington Post, Forbes; Duke Energy: Energy News Network

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