New renewables cheaper than 39% of existing coal – report

Jun 30, 2020 | Montel

(Montel) It is cheaper to build new renewable capacity than to continue operating 39% of the world’s existing coal capacity, according to a report published on Tuesday.

The report – published by Carbon Tracker, a research organisation dedicated to the financial implications of climate change – found the share of uncompetitive coal plants worldwide would increase rapidly to 60% in 2022 and 73% in 2025.

Outside the US, a third of the global coal fleet was already more costly to continue operating than building new renewables with storage today, it said.

EU coal uncompetitive
It noted 81% of the EU’s coal fleet was uncompetitive already, with the percentage set to reach 100% by 2025 and 43% of China’s plants were uncompetitive at present but likely to reach nearly 100% by mid-decade.

The word’s second-largest thermal coal importer, India, however lagged somewhat behind, with 17% of its coal fleet currently uncompetitive, rising to 85% in 2025.

“Replacing the entire global coal fleet with clean energy [including battery storage] can be done at a net savings to society as early as 2022,” the organisation said, adding this was before considering coal’s “dire health, climate, and environmental impacts”.

“Currently, coal phase-out hasn’t kept pace with eroding economics,” it said.

To keep the Paris Agreement’s temperature targets within reach, global coal use must decline by 80% below 2010 levels by 2030, requiring rapid transition in OECD countries over the next decade and phase-out in the rest of the world by 2040, it noted.

Reporting by:
Laurence Walker
09:08, Tuesday, 30 June 2020