New solar and wind projects are undercutting the cheapest and least sustainable of existing coal-fired plants, the International Renewable Energy Agency, IRENA, said in a study. Auction results show the trends are accelerating, reinforcing the case to phase out coal entirely, it added and attributed the shift to improving technologies, economies of scale, competitive supply chains and growing developer experience.
Up to 1.2 TW of existing coal-fired capacity will cost more to operate through next year than new utility-scale solar power facilities would cost to install, according to the document. The size exceeds half of the world’s total, industry data show.
Moreover, replacing the costliest 500 GW of coal capacity with solar and wind would cut expenses by as much as USD 23 billion per year and reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by around 1.8 gigatons or 5% of last year’s overall tally, the research results show.
The agency calculated the move would yield a stimulus worth USD 940 billion or 1% of global gross domestic product. In total, 56% of utility-scale renewable capacity added in 2019 all over the world had lower electricity costs than new coal, authors stressed.
(Source: Balkan Green Energy News)