Stunning new data on the economics of US coal vs. renewables

Only one coal plant in America is cheaper than new renewables. So why haven’t we ditched coal yet?

On The Carbon Copy podcast this week:

For the last 12 years, coal generation in America has been in steady decline. In 2022, wind, solar and hydro collectively generated more electricity than coal plants. There’s no escaping it: The coal fleet is getting creaky.

Despite this, hundreds of coal plants are still in operation nationwide. A team of analysts at the University of California, Berkeley and think tank Energy Innovation wanted to know how many of those aging coal plants are more expensive to run than wind and solar. The results were astounding.

Only one coal plant in America is cheaper to operate than building new renewables. So with 99 percent of coal plants being the more expensive option, why haven’t more utilities ditched coal?

This week, we’ll speak with Mike O’Boyle, senior director for electricity policy at Energy Innovation, about the nuances of the transition away from coal — and why economics alone aren’t enough to push the oldest, dirtiest plants into retirement.

The Carbon Copy is supported by FischTank PR, a public relations, strategic messaging and social media agency dedicated to elevating the work of climate and clean energy companies. Learn more about FischTank’s approach to cleantech and their services: fischtankpr.com.

The Carbon Copy is supported by Scale Microgrids, the distributed energy company dedicated to transforming how modern energy infrastructure is designed, constructed and financed. Distributed generation can be complex. Scale makes it easy. Learn more at scalemicrogrids.com.