January 4, 2018 Read More →

On the Blogs: Wind, Solar Beat Coal On Price In Colorado

Clean Cooperative:

Utilities in Colorado are planning to add a lot more renewable energy over the next few years, for a variety of reasons. I’ve looked at a couple of the trends driving this energy transition such as 100% renewable energy commitments from the utilities’ major customers, including towns and cities like Pueblo and Boulder, and major companies like Aspen Skiing Company, Google, Vail Resorts, IBM, Anheuser-Busch, and New Belgium.

But perhaps the biggest reason that utilities in the region are pursuing more renewable energy is that the low costs of wind and solar energy have continued to fall, opening up a huge market: replacement power for existing coal plants.

Cheap renewable energy has already meant that when utilities needed new power generation in recent years, they have mostly chosen renewable energy. Nationwide, wind and solar power represented about two-thirds of all the new electricity generation capacity that was brought online in both 2015 and 2016, according to the US Energy Information Agency.

But as the costs of building new wind and solar projects have kept dropping, renewable energy is now becoming cheaper even than continuing to run existing coal-fired power plants – as Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper recently noted, “Coal is no longer the low-cost fuel.”

More: New Wind and Solar Power In Colorado Is Now Cheaper Than Existing Coal Plants

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