Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Rapid Wind and Solar Cost Declines Keep Pushing Fossil Fuel Further from Profitability.  How Low Can They Go?

U.S. utility-scale electric generation capacity retirements 2008-2020 (Credit: EIA) Click to Enlarge.
Rapid cost declines made renewable energy the United States’ cheapest available source of new electricity, without subsidies, in 2017.  In many parts of the U.S., building new wind is cheaper than running existing coal, while nuclear and natural gas aren’t far behind.  As renewable energy costs continue their relentless decline, they keep pushing fossil fuels further from profitability – and neither trend is slowing down.

This dynamic is apparent in the decade spanning 2008-2017, where nearly all retired U.S. power plants were fossil fuel generation, and was capped by utilities announcing 27 coal plant closures totaling 22 gigawatts (GW) of capacity in 2017.  The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts coal closures will continue through 2020, potentially setting an all-time annual record in 2018.

Despite Trump Administration actions to improve fossil fuel economics and reduce renewable energy competitiveness, updated levelized cost of energy (LCOE) data and new renewable energy projects show clean energy continues beating fossil fuels on economics, at a faster pace and in more locations than ever before.  So just how low can renewable prices go?

Read more at Rapid Wind and Solar Cost Declines Keep Pushing Fossil Fuel Further from Profitability.  How Low Can They Go?

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