99% of U.S. Coal Plants Cost More to Run Than Replace With New Renewables, Study Finds
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.
“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.”
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