Solar, wind, and battery prices are dropping so fast that, in Colorado, building new renewable power plus battery storage is now cheaper than running old coal plants. This increasingly renders existing coal plants obsolete.
But it’s not just Colorado whose energy markets have been turned upside down. In November, we reported on the remarkable findings of the financial firm Lazard Ltd., which found that in many regions of North America, “the full-lifecycle costs of building and operating renewables-based projects have dropped below the operating costs alone of conventional generation technologies such as coal or nuclear.”
Remember, the knock against solar and wind power has been that they are variable, so their power supposedly isn’t as useful as “baseload” (24-7) power like coal and nuclear. Indeed, that was part of the argument that Energy Secretary Rick Perry had made in his now-failed effort to get the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to force U.S. consumers to bail out the coal and nuclear industries.
But even limited battery storage gives renewables enough flexibility to handle a lot of variability.