A new study shows the cost of wind and solar power is now cheaper than electricity from coal-fired power plants in the U.S.
A study conducted by U.S. think tank Energy Innovation -"Coal Cost Crossover 2.0" - said the current power generated by wind and solar could replace 80% of the country's coal plants while also providing savings to customers.
The study is an update to the company's 2019 Coal Cost Crossover report. In the latest study, Energy Innovation said its initial projection that 75% of the country's coal plants would be uneconomic by 2025 was nearly met in 2020.
According to its research, about 166 gigawatts of the country's coal capacity in 2020 has become uneconomical compared to wind and solar. The study said 182 out of the 235 U.S. coal plants - or roughly 80% - are uneconomical or are within five years being retired.
Energy Innovation said coal generation in the U.S. is at a crossroads. The study said the cost of renewable energy generation had fallen faster than the forecast made by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in its 2018 Annual Technology Baseline.
Apart from showing the economics of potential new wind and solar plants and comparisons of overall costs, the study also called on lawmakers to seize the opportunity to improve consumer, public health and climate outcomes.
The study said policies based on data from cost analysis of coal and renewable energy generation can help in the rapid transition, which can provide consumers and private companies with immense savings.
Even the most die-hard of coal proponents have slowly accepted the fact that coal is now becoming obsolete. Politicians such as Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Cecil Roberts along with the United Mine Workers of America have recently acknowledged the need for a transition from coal to renewable energy sources.
The study said it aims to prove that the transitioning to renewable is not only for environmental and societal reasons but now also for economic reasons.