Surprise! Wind Now Cheaper Than Coal In Australia, Solar Soon Will Be As Well
Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 9, 2013
Here’s something you probably won’t see on FOX News any time soon, even though it’s from Rupert Murdoch’s homeland:
Something interesting is happening in Australia.
A new study by the research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance has found that unsubsidized renewable energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels like coal and gas.
In fact, it’s a lot cheaper.
Data shows that wind farms in Australia can produce energy at AU$80/MWh. Meanwhile, coal plants are producing energy at AU$143/MWh and gas at AU$116/MWh.
Unlike the United States, where energy companies can pollute and have the costs (from illness to environmental degradation) picked up by the taxpayers, Australia has a carbon tax, which partially explains why renewables have a price advantage. But the data shows that even without the cost of carbon tax factored in; wind energy is still 14-cents cheaper than coal and 18-cents cheaper than gas.
Even better: By 2020 if not sooner, solar power will also be cheaper than coal or gas in Australia — and Australia has up to now been a heavily coal-dependent nation.
Yeah, yeah, I hear you say, but what about the US? Our day is coming:
According to the Energy Information Administration, looking ahead to 2016, natural gas is the cheapest energy in the United States at roughly $66/MWh. Coal comes in second at $94/MWh. But right behind coal is renewable wind at $97/MWh, which in large part accounts for why U.S. wind energy production has tripled since 2000.
And, unlike in Australia, none of those US prices account for the externalities associated with fossil fuels like pollution, cancers, military protection, or global warming. In America, the fossil fuel industry has made sure those externalities are paid for not by the coal and gas energy producers, but instead by you and me.
Got that? Wind power already is nearly at parity with coal, even in the US, even without the massive subsidies given to dirty-energy industries.
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