CHEAP WIND AND SOLAR PUTTING PRESSURE ON FOSSIL ENERGY COMPANIES TO RETIRE PLANTS EARLY

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15 november 2020

[4C Note: this article from Cleantechnica is too long for complete reposting, but replete with revealing graphic material. To see the original arcicle, click here]

Wind & Solar Are Cheaper Than Everything, Lazard Reports

CleanTechnica November 15th, 2020 by Zachary Shahan

We recently saw the International Energy Agency (IEA) report that solar power offers the cheapest electricity in history. That was a global report. A US-focused report from Lazard recently reported something similar. The highly regarded energy analysts showed that wind and solar offer the cheapest electricity in the country, even significantly undercutting natural gas combined cycle power plants now. But that’s only half of it.

Solar & Wind Energy Are Cheaper — Much Cheaper

Historically, when we write about such reports, we — and the analysts we’re referencing — are comparing estimated electricity costs from new power plants. However, for at least a few of these reports, Lazard has been including average electricity cost from already built power plants — just the operational costs (the brown diamonds in the chart below). The latest report shows that new wind and solar power plants can even provide electricity more cheaply than existing, in-operation natural gas, coal, and nuclear power plants! This is where things get interesting.

We’re at a kind of crossover point right now, but if solar and wind continue to come down in cost while the others stay the same or get more expensive, there will be serious pressure to retire fossil and nuclear power plants early and scale up wind and solar power production even faster. Why pay more for electricity from old, dirty power plants when you can get it more cheaply from new, clean, green electricity?

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