Solar and wind energy are on their way to become more cost-effective power sources than coal, a new study released Monday concluded. Energy Innovation, a nonpartisan think tank, reported that economics alone could be the biggest driver towards renewable energy sources.
Energy Innovation's study called "The Coal Cost Crossover" concluded that clean energy alternatives are increasingly less costly compared to the price of existing coal options. According to the report, nearly three quarters of the American coal fleet could be replaced by local wind and solar energy today and save customers money.
By 2025, they predict that 86 percent of coal plants could become obsolete because of cost-efficient solar and wind energy alone. The results show that the struggling coal industry will become increasingly threatened by renewable energy in addition to natural gas.
Natural gas production has grown cheaper in recent years, and coal plants, responsible for a large portion of greenhouse gas pollution, have shut down across the nation in 2018 with more expected to close in 2019. This trend is in spite of President Trump's promise to keep the "beautiful, clean coal" industry alive.
“Due to the rapid recent cost decline of wind and solar, the combined fuel, maintenance, and other going-forward costs of coal-fired power from many existing coal plants is now more expensive than the all-in costs of new wind or solar projects. This cost crossover raises substantial questions for regulators and utilities as to why these coal plants should keep running instead of new renewable power plants,” the report read.