According to a new report from Energy Innovation it would be cheaper to build new solar and wind plants compared to keeping 74% of US coal plants running. “This is not a fantasy of a supercomputer. This is really what’s happening today,” said Eric Gimon, a senior fellow at Energy Innovation. “The crossover between new renewable and coal running costs is just one important part of shutting down existing coal plants. Any decision on how to proceed will require further modeling of grid impacts and alternative sources of reliability services.” This study is meant to start the beginning of a larger conversation among policymakers, regulators, and utilities about transition plans and what justifications remain for continuing to use increasingly cost-ineffective coal.
“We hope that by looking at the local resources available, policymakers and other stakeholders can start to think about ways of creating transition plans for those coal communities at the same time that they’re considering new options,” said Mike O’Boyle, Director of Electricity Policy at Energy Innovation. “They need to start thinking today about how to achieve those savings. The longer they wait, the more money they leave on the table and the more harm they’re allowing to come to the environment.” This is a highly complex situation though because of the reality of the grid and all the intricacies that come along with it. However, it’s exciting to see a study come out like this because it’s further evidence toward the argument of ending our reliance on fossil fuels!