Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Sorry Donnie, Coal is Not Clean, Coal is Dead

And Glad to See It Go

The fascination of Republicans with coal is strange. The stuff pollutes the ground and water when it is mined and it pollutes the air when it is burned. The idea that coal can be made into clean energy is a fool's dream, hence its appeal to Trumper.

And now one report, if true, is putting the final nails in the coffin.

New wind and solar will be cheaper than existing coal and nuclear by the early 2020s

First, the headline numbers. Here are the costs Robo anticipates “early in the next decade”:

  • Unsubsidized new wind: 2.0-2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour
  • Unsubsidized new solar: 3.0-4.0 cents per kilowatt-hour
  • Variable operating costs of existing coal or nuclear plants: 3.5-5.0 cents per kilowatt-hour
If those predictions hold up, it is game over for coal (and nuclear, unless it gets support based on its low carbon emissions, as in New York). No one will ever build another coal plant in America, and the ones still running would likely shut down sooner than scheduled.

So who is this Robo person, why should we believe him. Oh, him

The latest is Jim Robo, CEO of NextEra Energy, a giant energy company with subsidiariesthat include Florida Power & Light (America’s third-largest utility, with 4.8 million customers) and NextEra Energy Resources, which boasts of being “the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun.”

On a Q4 earnings conference call on Friday, Robo predicted that by the early 2020s, it will be cheaper to build new renewables than to continue running existing coal and nuclear plants. That’s ... crazy.

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