Solving climate change is about economics.
As a GE executive for part of the 30 years I spent in the energy industry, I was often involved in analysis of the cost of energy, or COE, for: coal, natural gas, bio-fuel, nuclear, wind and solar generation technologies.
Thirty years ago, coal generation had the lowest COE.
Around 20 to 15 years ago, natural gas became the lowest COE for new construction.
Around 10 to 5 years ago, wind and solar became the lowest COE for new construction.
Around 5 to 2 years ago, wind and solar became the lowest COE, even compared to existing, fully depreciated coal.
PacifiCorp’s (the generator for Rocky Mountain Power) own analysis shows that 60% of their coal plants are “more expensive than alternative options.” Other studies show that the company could save money by closing 20 of their 22 coal plants. One of the biggest constraints in the analysis is that these plants are not fully depreciated. Meaning, it’s just an accounting issue.
Switching to renewable energy in most cases would cost less, not more.
Add environmental and health cost avoidance benefits, and you get economics one can’t ignore.