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Home / Business / 74% of US coal plants threatened with renewable energy sources, but emissions continue to rise

74% of US coal plants threatened with renewable energy sources, but emissions continue to rise



  Windmills near a coal plant.
Magnify / Wind turbines spin as steam rises from the cooling towers of Jäenschwalde coal power plant.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) launched a report on Monday that in 2018 emissions "global energy-related CO 2 " increased by 1

.7 percent to 33 Gigatonnes. "It is the largest growth in emissions the world has seen since 2013.

Coal use contributed one-third of the total increase, mainly from new coal-fired power plants in China and India, which is worrying because new coal plants have a lifetime of about 50 years But the consequences of climate change are already on us, and coal's strong emission profile compared to other energy sources means that CO2 reduction globally will be much more difficult to cope with than it can see from this in the US [19659004] Even in the US, CO2 emissions increased by 3.1 percent in 2018, according to the IEA. (This closely follows the estimates from the Rhodium group, which released a preliminary report in January, saying that US CO2 emissions increased by 3.4 percent in 2018.)

" By country, China, the United States and India, nearly 70 percent of the increase in energy demand stood together, "Reuters wrote.

74 percent of coal-fired power uneconomic in the United States?

The figures remind us that economy alone is likely s not enough to clear the CO2 emissions in the US. Last week, the Danish Energy Agency's Energy Agency (EIA) said that there are no significant and unpredictable changes, but the CO2 emissions from the US are likely to remain approximately the same throughout 2050.

This estimate takes into account large carbon cutting measures that were already on the books in many states at the end of 2018, including California's promise to meet 100 percent of its energy-free carbonless electricity. (However, it does not take into account recent political decisions, such as New Mexico's similar pledge signed in March.)

Energy Management Administration

The projections from the EIA assume that coal will be phased out aggressively, but despite this phase development, MK that 17 percent of the country's energy mix comes from coal power in 2050.

There is some hope that EIA's estimates are too conservative. Analysts firm Vibrant Clean Energy (VCE) and nonpartisan think tank Energy Innovation released a report (PDF) on Monday and said that 74 per cent of coal-fired power capacity in the United States is uneconomic compared to new, local renewable energy sources. That is, the report compared MCOE's marginal cost by continuing to operate coal power plants with Lost Energy (LCOE) to replace that capacity with new wind or sun.

The result was that, megawatt-hour for megawatt-hour, brand new renewable energy was cheaper than continuing to run existing coal works 74 percent of the time. In 2025, the researchers found that 85 percent of the American coal fleet was uneconomical compared to entirely new renewable energy.

So why aren't coal power plants exposed to more pensioners if they are so bad that they continue to run compared to newer, cleaner energy? Finally, the cost of running a coal-fired power plant differs from the price paid by the power plant owner, and in many markets, old power plants can continue to make money from the prices they collect. Utility Dive notes in particular that many coal-fired plants in the Northeast benefit from selling power on the regional network operator's capacity market, which is a market for energy companies to sell their electricity year after year.

VCE and Energy Innovation only admit to comparing the MCOE of coal and LCOE of renewable energy is not enough to determine if a coal power will shut down. But the company's report says that any coal factory that fails this comparison should trigger "a wakeup call for politicians and local stakeholders that there is potential for productive change in the immediate vicinity of the plant."

Could the batteries pick up slack?

On Tuesday, Bloomberg New Energy Finance published a report stating that LCOE of lithium-ion grid scale batteries (that is, the cost of batteries and installation divided by the amount of usable energy they will give over their lifetime) has fallen 35 percent since the first half of 2018 to $ 187 per megawatt hour.

By comparison, the VCE and Energy Innovation report that came out on Monday discovered that most existing coal mines have an MCOE of $ 33 to $ 111 per megawatt hour. If the price of batteries continues to fall as much as it did in 2018, banks with lithium ion batteries could soon be competitive with a number of expensive but still operational coal plants in the United States. And unlike wind and sun, big banks offer batteries of disposable energy, which can be used regardless of whether the wind is blowing or the sun is shining.

Still waiting for the economy to run courses and kill coal, does not solve the problem of natural gas, which is extremely cheap and thriving in the United States. Natural gas was partly responsible for starting up CO2 emissions last year. To cope with this problem, it currently seems that politics or technology must intervene.


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