Solar & wind power now cheaper than coal power in US

Date
09/20/2013

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It's less costly to get electricity from wind turbines and solar panels than coal-fired power plants when climate change costs and other health impacts are factored in, according to a new study published in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. In fact—using the official U.S. government estimates of health and environmental costs from burning fossil fuels—the study shows it's cheaper to replace a typical existing coal-fired power plant with a wind turbine than to keep the old plant running. And new electricity generation from wind could be more economically efficient than natural gas. The findings show the nation can cut carbon pollution from power plants in a cost-effective way, by replacing coal-fired generation with cleaner options like wind, solar, and natural gas. "Burning coal is a very costly way to make electricity. There are more efficient and sustainable ways to get power," said Dr. Laurie Johnson, chief economist in the Climate and Clean Air Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "We can reduce health and climate change costs while reducing the dangerous carbon pollution driving global warming." Johnson co-authored the study, "The Social Cost of Carbon: Implications for Modernizing our Electricity System," with Chris Hope of the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge; and Starla Yeh in NRDC's Center for Market Innovation. Power plants are the nation's single largest source of such pollution, accounting for 40 percent of our national carbon footprint. Clean Technica

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