Cost has always been one of the major factors people point to when discussing renewable energy. While the environmental implications are very important, the price also affects how viable a power source is for the larger community.
Independent financial think tank Carbon Tracker recently released a report that found that the cost of renewable energy is lower than the previous cost-effective option, coal.
For years, coal was relied upon as an affordable way to bring power to millions of people. In the United States, nine out of every 10 tonnes of coal mined was consumed to generate electricity. Coal makes up 73% of the resources used to produce electricity across Australia. Natural gas comes in second with a mere 13%.
A total of 78 countries around the globe used coal for energy in 2019. That was up from 66 countries in 2000.
With so many regions reliant on coal, it can be a hard sell to switch to an alternative. However, according to the Carbon Tracker website, “coal developers risk wasting more than $600 billion because it is already cheaper to generate electricity from renewables than from new coal plants in all major markets.”
Out with the Coal and In with the Renewables
Many communities are faced with a decision: continue using coal or invest in renewable technology. Some speculate that it might be cheaper to build new sustainable energy facilities over the next decade rather than continue operating existing coal power stations.
The report also called for policymakers to stop investing in coal and to begin redesigning regulations in the power market. The goal should focus on minimising stranded asset risk but to also accelerate the transition to a lower-carbon economy.
A world map was included that highlights the countries where renewable energy is cheaper to use than coal. The list includes Russia, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, India, South Africa, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
Despite the signing of the Paris Agreement, coal still features prominently in the energy market. This stems from its availability and low cost. Millions of tonnes sit underground while powerful companies backed by governments try to take advantage of this otherwise unhealthy resource.
The shortcomings of wind and solar also work to coal’s advantage. Wind requires a breeze while solar needs the sun to shine to work. However, improved technology has increased efficiency and minimised the impact of these problems. When coupled with the lower cost, renewables become a strong contender against previous heavyweight coal.
Renewable Energy at Home
You have the option to decide how you want to power your home. Solar systems are more affordable than ever and can be installed on-site so you don’t have to rely on delivery from the grid.
Connect Electric can help you learn more about why renewable energy is a better alternative to harmful fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, and petroleum. Contact us today to discuss your electricity needs and to find out how solar can help you stop relying on coal.