Instead of doubling down on more fossil fuels, we must close coal and natural gas plants and replace them with renewable energy. Technology for a large-scale transition to renewables has existed for over 20 years but is cheaply available now — we need strong government policies backed by political will to see them through.
Renewables alone can close coal. Technology exists to support a transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy backed up by storage and transmission at prices lower than current energy costs. While natural gas generation and some renewables are comparable in cost, new coal generation is substantially more expensive than
both. Levelized costs of new coal generation are more than double the cost of natural gas.
These price disadvantages were compounded by Obama-era EPA regulations that added legal hurdles to building new coal generation. Since 2013, major coal capacity has not been added to the grid. The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicted that almost all capacity additions in 2019 would be powered by either wind, solar or natural gas with no new coal on the horizon through 2050. Not only are costs of new renewables lower than those for new coal, but up to 74 percent of the current coal capacity could be closed immediately and replaced with renewables, all while saving money.
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