Economically, Coal is Out
Right now, in every major market, it’s cheaper to make new investments in renewables than in coal. According to Carbon Tracker, if governments and investors don’t cancel coal projects they stand to lose more than $600 billion. AND by 2030 it will be cheaper to build new renewable energy than to keep running existing coal plants.
Or as Vox put it: Coal is now a loser around the world.
Great! So Hopefully renewables Replaces All That Coal – But We Still Have The Variability Challenge
Wind and solar power require system balancing because of their variability. With batteries getting cheaper, many plants are attempting to solve this issue by creating “hybrid power plants” where batteries are installed for on-site storage. A report in the The Electricity Journal lays out the pros (investment and some efficiency increases) and cons (doesn’t give the whole grid operational flexibility).
Image: Pros (+) and cons (-) of battery hybrid projects. The Electricity Journal