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New renewable energy now as cheap as existing coal stations

Date: 08-Jan-19
Author: Liam Taylor

The cost of producing renewable energy continues to trend downwards. Image: Karsten Wurth/Unsplash © Karsten Wurth/Unsplash

The cost of producing renewable energy continues to trend downwards. Image: Karsten Wurth/Unsplash

A report released late last year confirmed what many had forecasted, building new renewable energy facilities is now the same cost or cheaper than continuing to operate old coal power stations.

The report, from energy analysis firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance, showed that due to continued reductions in the cost of wind and solar, as well as higher commodity prices for black coal, the price of producing new renewable energy has fallen below that of producing energy from coal in Queensland and New South Wales.

“This means that it is already cheaper to build a new solar or wind plant than burn export-linked coal in an existing, fully depreciated coal plant,” said one of the report’s authors, Ali Asghar.

Building a coal power station has a capital cost almost three times more expensive than building a wind or solar farm whilst also having much lower running costs overall due to reduced maintenance and operational expenses. Only significant government subsidies to the coal industry levels the field and this makes little economic or environmental sense in the face of dangerous climate change.

In fact, the only reason existing coal power stations continue to produce cheap electricity is that all capital costs were funded by the taxpayer in the past. With the costs of wind and solar expected to continue to fall in the years to come, the Climate Council expects private companies to increasingly favour renewable power plants over those relying on fossil fuels.


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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.


Liam                                              Taylor
Author: Liam Taylor

Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia. Joining the communications team at Planet Ark, he hopes to inspire positive environmental behaviour through effective and positive messaging.

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