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Why is the world still using coal?

Updated: Jul 17

In most of the world renewable energy is already cheaper to operate than coal plants. A few research firms have provided potential strategies utility companies and policy makers can use to complete this phase-out of coal faster than previously anticipated. Coal plants worldwide are losing competitiveness in the market as countries adapt to the growing demand of cleaner renewable energy.


An analysis provided by Rocky Mountain Institute says "the share of uncompetitive coal plants worldwide will increase rapidly to 60% in 2022 and to 73% in 2025."


“A faster transition from coal to clean energy is within our grasp, and we show how to engineer that transition in ways that will save money for electricity customers around the world while aiding a just transition for workers and communities,” says Paul Bodnar, managing director at the Rocky Mountain Institute.


Their findings suggest replacement of global coal plants with clean energy plus battery storage could result in a net annual savings of $105 Billion in 2025. Monetary savings on top of reducing climate and environmental impact such as carbon emissions or other pollutants seem to have put the need to switch, at the forefront of discussions. It is estimated in order to keep the Paris Agreements temperature targets within reach, coal use must decline 80% below 2010 levels by 2030.


Beyond the U.S., one third of the global coal industry is already more expensive to operate than building new renewables with storage. Globally the number is expected to reach 80% by 2025 as some countries like China are on track to to reach nearly 100% by the same time.


With the recent passing of legislation requiring Virginia to be utilizing 80% clean renewable energy by 2028 and 100% by 2036 power companies in Virginia have been ramping up their solar farm installations. As a result, one of the major power providers here in Virginia has already alerted their customers of the looming 3% (average) annual increase over the next 10 years to pay for these "infrastructure upgrades."


Now is the time, more than ever, to consider the financial and environmental benefits of going solar with your home. In a sense, we will all be solar one day, the question is: Do you want to take control of your power rate or keep letting it increase?


The full report on coal use around the world can be read over at https://rmi.org/insight/how-to-retire-early and the full article detailing the coming rise in power bills can be found here: https://www.nbc12.com/2020/05/04/dominion-expects-bills-rise-pay-renewable-mandates/

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