Can “Renewables” Dent the World’s need for Electricity?

Robust economies have promoted subsidy-dependent, low power density, and intermittently electricity from renewables, but billions in the world are accessing affordable, scalable, reliable electricity from abundant supplies of coal, oil, and gas for their energy and electricity needs in order to support the two prime movers that have done more for the cause of globalization: the diesel engine and the jet turbine, and to raise their living standards with the 6,000 products that come from oil and petroleum products, as well as zero-emissions nuclear power for 24/7 electricity.

Can Renewables Dent the Worlds need for Electricity.pdf

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Oh dear here we go again. Seems you are some what stuck in the past, solar and onshore wind (depending on location) for most of the worlds population is now the cheapest source of electricity subsidy free and if you take in to account all costs of coal or gas powered electricity it wins by a mile. Solar and wind turbines coursing children to starve, really? How much prime agricultural land has been used like this as a percentage? You call it a crime against humanity, come on, when fossil fuels kill and harm so many.  The great thing about mixing wind and solar is when the winds not blowing the suns out and visa versa. The reason why Californians pay so much for electricity is a complicated story that really has little to do with renewables.  Wind turbines slaughtering birds is a discredited story, some die but cooling towers are far more deadly.

As for nuclear I used to be a Nuclear Operative, it's not economical, it's a massive security issue and is only been subsidised by governments as a civilian nuclear industry indirectly keeps the military nuclear viable. Comparing fission development to the space race to the moon is totally misguided. The space race gave us many things but actually probably the most important was it really kick started the modern environment organisations, we'd still be spraying DDT everywhere and enjoying mercury in our food without it. Maybe thorium molten salt reactors could be built with billions and billions thrown at it and come on line in a few decades, but at no where near the price of renewables.

Trusting anything from the IEA on renewables is a bit of a joke, go take a look at their forecasts (although they no longer call them forecasts as they as wrong every time) for solar and how far off every year they have been.

This paper is an example of how the fossil fuel / nuclear world try's to mislead people. What century do you think we live in? 

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On ‎10‎/‎20‎/‎2018 at 7:18 AM, DA? said:

Seems you are some what stuck in the past, solar and onshore wind (depending on location) for most of the worlds population is now the cheapest source of electricity subsidy free and if you take in to account all costs of coal or gas powered electricity it wins by a mile. 

JH/DA - look, sorry but completely, totally wrong. Its the other way around. This has been discussed several times in this forum already. If you go back and look at your sources - the original material not activist reassurances - you will find that some forms of renewables have been rated as cheaper than fossil/conventional fuel sources by various agencies. That is right, but that's on a per-output basis. If you look closely at the tables that set this out, you'll find a note that the assessment does not include network costs (because they can't), and that renewables cannot be compared with  conventional power.

The problem is that once you put solar and wind power units on a grid they operators have to ensure that they also have enough conventional power to make up the difference when the solar and wind stuff drops out. Activists have been saying for years that if we spread out the generators over a wide area then they will provide some base load - that is, output won't dip beyond a certain amount. This has proved a bust. There is now considerable operational experience with wind and solar and no-one has overcome the problem of huge variations in supply. If you disagree, fine, please cite where they have overcome this problem and give links. I'd be most interested. This is why everyone has been talking about batteries. This does not apply to hydro - rated as a renewable but very useful - or exotic stuff like geothermal. Wind and solar generators have to be subsidised, and with present technology that will always be the case.  

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Tucson feed in tariff auction earlier this year for the evening demand solar/battery the cheapest

https://www.tep.com/news/tep-to-power-21000-homes-with-new-solar-array-for-historically-low-price/

Hornsdale battery kills gas powered generators biggest profits and stabilised the gird far better

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/10/08/teslas-battery-in-south-australia-breaks-stranglehold-of-natural-gas-industry/

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/09/26/utility-solar-storage-accelerates-ahead-of-expectations-cleantechnica-at-spi2018/

when this company sees it, it rather telling where the future is:

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/09/24/this-is-huge-marubeni-shifts-from-coal-to-renewables/

The list goes on and on, it's actually quite hard to find data on renewables that's up to date as it's moving so fast.

I would suggest seeing what people like Tony Seba, Ray Kurzweil and Ramez Naam have to say. These three have been laughed at by the old industries but look how right they have been, in fact normally were they have been wrong is they have been to conservative.

Yes investments need to be made for the grids and storage but when feed in tariffs are less than half of of the cheapest fossil fuel generators it becomes financially the best option. Europe has been doing well with it's renewables the grid has been fine, I have to say since here in Aude France our supply has become far more reliable since we have had the building of large amounts of wind and solar.

I used to work in the energy sector and conventional sources aren't so reliable either. Look what happen in Australia recently with NSW blacking out, the place reliant on conventional power those other states with more renewables and battery storage were fine, although someone made a fool of themselves in the Government of trying to blame renewables, they were quickly shut down when the facts came out.

Today we can't go 100% renewables but they are cutting in to the market and even unsubsidised and the grids are dealing with it. Even Ireland which of course is an Island deals with a considerable amount of wind power and those prices for wind are falling. Luckily technology is moving fast and more and more markets are falling to renewables.

Now I say it's up to the conventional providers of electricity to say why it's not going to happen. Especially when we facture in all expenses connected with different sources, how valuable are all those lifes lost to fossil fuel pollution? The fact is renewables are the future and already 50% of new installations are renewable and that will increase. In the not to distant future renewables will be even cheaper than the fuel used, then stranded assets. All those coal plants especially and even gas plants sitting there with bills to pay and costing more to run just for their fuel than profits made.

The shoe is on the other foot now, it's the fossil fuel world that has the extraordinary claim to justify now. You can produce all the FUD you want it doesn't change the future.

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17 minutes ago, DA? said:

The shoe is on the other foot now, it's the fossil fuel world that has the extraordinary claim to justify now.

Heh heh, well played, DA... is there an echo in here?

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2 hours ago, Tom Kirkman said:

Heh heh, well played, DA... is there an echo in here?

Thought you may like that, you have to love a bit of Carl, gone but not forgotten. First serious book I ever had was the Cosmos.

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15 hours ago, DA? said:

I used to work in the energy sector and conventional sources aren't so reliable either. Look what happen in Australia recently with NSW blacking out, the place reliant on conventional power those other states with more renewables and battery storage were fine, although someone made a fool of themselves in the Government of trying to blame renewables, they were quickly shut down when the facts came out.

DA?/JA - I'd go over all the stuff that you think is a response but is nonsense, but the post would be far too long. I will start with this point though.. I live in Australia.. the blackout I think you're referring to happened in South Australia not NSW and SA - at least the huge blackout when power went down for days - relies on wind energy far more than Denmark. So sorry, but that's wrong.

Let's look at the first link you cite, an article from Tucson Electric Power, as an example of just how these things can be twisted. First off, look at the size of the system 100 MW solar array with a 30 MW (output?? the article later says 120 MWhr) storage. The 21,000 home figure must refer to when the solar array is operating at full, otherwise both output values are extremely low. Its a small plant which, okay, the utility is paying cheap prices for. So? Does that translate into lower prices for customers? If they didn't pay anything at all for the power does that translate into cheaper rates for customers? I very much doubt it, considering what the grid operators would have to do to balance the intermittent load. That was the point I was making. The TEP site says very little about where its power comes from but I looked around on the net. The biggest power station in Arizona is Palo Verde Nuclear plant at nearly 4,000 MW. Then there is the Hoover Dam and the Glen Canyon dam a few very big gas and coal plants - all of which have energy at call, so I suppose the comparatively small TEP can mess around with renewables and get away it as they have a big, dense grid to draw on when the renewables fail. as they always do.

I won't bother with the other links as I don't think you understood what I was getting at in the first place. Leave it with you..  

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7 hours ago, markslawson said:

DA?/JA - I'd go over all the stuff that you think is a response but is nonsense, but the post would be far too long. I will start with this point though.. I live in Australia.. the blackout I think you're referring to happened in South Australia not NSW and SA - at least the huge blackout when power went down for days - relies on wind energy far more than Denmark. So sorry, but that's wrong.

Let's look at the first link you cite, an article from Tucson Electric Power, as an example of just how these things can be twisted. First off, look at the size of the system 100 MW solar array with a 30 MW (output?? the article later says 120 MWhr) storage. The 21,000 home figure must refer to when the solar array is operating at full, otherwise both output values are extremely low. Its a small plant which, okay, the utility is paying cheap prices for. So? Does that translate into lower prices for customers? If they didn't pay anything at all for the power does that translate into cheaper rates for customers? I very much doubt it, considering what the grid operators would have to do to balance the intermittent load. That was the point I was making. The TEP site says very little about where its power comes from but I looked around on the net. The biggest power station in Arizona is Palo Verde Nuclear plant at nearly 4,000 MW. Then there is the Hoover Dam and the Glen Canyon dam a few very big gas and coal plants - all of which have energy at call, so I suppose the comparatively small TEP can mess around with renewables and get away it as they have a big, dense grid to draw on when the renewables fail. as they always do.

I won't bother with the other links as I don't think you understood what I was getting at in the first place. Leave it with you..  

Nope you are wrong, a more recent event. My wife is Australin/French and we have lived in and are about to move back so I tend to keep up to date. Also this was widely reported in many places concern with renewable energy, I guess not in articles you read.  

No I understood what point you were trying to make. More FUD, every time renewables do something that has been said was impossible it's quietly forgotten and a new impossibility is raised, and repeat. Don't these people that bring out this FUD have any self respect? Take Stein's attachment for example, WTF a load of FUD, which will be quietly forgotten about until he comes up with some other bull. Get over it, renewables are very soon going to be the cheapest form of energy even with grid costs, although the grid becomes the largest cost factor. So many customers produce their own electricity and have storage.  

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On ‎10‎/‎19‎/‎2018 at 2:37 PM, Ronald Stein said:

Robust economies have promoted subsidy-dependent, low power density, and intermittently electricity from renewables, but billions in the world are accessing affordable, scalable, reliable electricity from abundant supplies of coal, oil, and gas for their energy and electricity needs in order to support the two prime movers that have done more for the cause of globalization: the diesel engine and the jet turbine, and to raise their living standards with the 6,000 products that come from oil and petroleum products, as well as zero-emissions nuclear power for 24/7 electricity.

Can Renewables Dent the Worlds need for Electricity.pdf

Having read your attachment could you put some context to this claim:

With all the world’s efforts to protect life and endangered species, United States wind farms are killing hundreds of thousands of birds, eagles, hawks, and bats every year, and it’s appalling that society has given the wind industry a FREE get-out-of-jail card!

Against bird casualties from other power sources. Of course lets not forgot the bird killing works of the domestic moggie either.

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On ‎10‎/‎21‎/‎2018 at 12:17 AM, markslawson said:

JH/DA - look, sorry but completely, totally wrong. Its the other way around. This has been discussed several times in this forum already. If you go back and look at your sources - the original material not activist reassurances - you will find that some forms of renewables have been rated as cheaper than fossil/conventional fuel sources by various agencies. That is right, but that's on a per-output basis. If you look closely at the tables that set this out, you'll find a note that the assessment does not include network costs (because they can't), and that renewables cannot be compared with  conventional power.

 

The problem is that once you put solar and wind power units on a grid they operators have to ensure that they also have enough conventional power to make up the difference when the solar and wind stuff drops out. Activists have been saying for years that if we spread out the generators over a wide area then they will provide some base load - that is, output won't dip beyond a certain amount. This has proved a bust. There is now considerable operational experience with wind and solar and no-one has overcome the problem of huge variations in supply. If you disagree, fine, please cite where they have overcome this problem and give links. I'd be most interested. This is why everyone has been talking about batteries. This does not apply to hydro - rated as a renewable but very useful - or exotic stuff like geothermal. Wind and solar generators have to be subsidised, and with present technology that will always be the case.  

 

Large scale wind farms are now coming on stream without any public subsidy

https://www.ft.com/content/1960c6fe-2dea-11e8-a34a-7e7563b0b0f4

Even in the UK developers are starting to do it with Solar

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/solar-power-plant-uk-opens-built-without-government-subsidy-renewable-energy-britain-a7967736.html

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6 hours ago, NickW said:

Large scale wind farms are now coming on stream without any public subsidy

https://www.ft.com/content/1960c6fe-2dea-11e8-a34a-7e7563b0b0f4

Even in the UK developers are starting to do it with Solar

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/solar-power-plant-uk-opens-built-without-government-subsidy-renewable-energy-britain-a7967736.html

NickW - I can understand how this stuff would confuse people who don't know the industry, but when it says "no subsidy" it means "no direct subsidy". The renewable energy is still required by retailers to fill various mandated targets. The additional costs of coping with renewables on a network are paid for by consumers rather than taxpayers. That's essentially what happens in Australia. Wind farms and such are built by private money to meet a need created by legislation.   

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2 hours ago, markslawson said:

NickW - I can understand how this stuff would confuse people who don't know the industry, but when it says "no subsidy" it means "no direct subsidy". The renewable energy is still required by retailers to fill various mandated targets. The additional costs of coping with renewables on a network are paid for by consumers rather than taxpayers. That's essentially what happens in Australia. Wind farms and such are built by private money to meet a need created by legislation.   

You could argue along the same lines that legislative controls on pollution have created a market for gas over cheaper coal. 

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On 10/22/2018 at 1:41 AM, DA? said:

Nope you are wrong, a more recent event. My wife is Australin/French and we have lived in and are about to move back so I tend to keep up to date. Also this was widely reported in many places concern with renewable energy, I guess not in articles you read.  

No I understood what point you were trying to make. More FUD, every time renewables do something that has been said was impossible it's quietly forgotten and a new impossibility is raised, and repeat. Don't these people that bring out this FUD have any self respect? Take Stein's attachment for example, WTF a load of FUD, which will be quietly forgotten about until he comes up with some other bull. Get over it, renewables are very soon going to be the cheapest form of energy even with grid costs, although the grid becomes the largest cost factor. So many customers produce their own electricity and have storage.  

 

On 10/23/2018 at 5:51 PM, markslawson said:

NickW - I can understand how this stuff would confuse people who don't know the industry, but when it says "no subsidy" it means "no direct subsidy". The renewable energy is still required by retailers to fill various mandated targets. The additional costs of coping with renewables on a network are paid for by consumers rather than taxpayers. That's essentially what happens in Australia. Wind farms and such are built by private money to meet a need created by legislation.   

As NickW mentioned, I do think there are unaccounted for indirect costs, and we still lack sufficient evidence of renewables' reliability.  Still, renewables have come further than many predicted. 

Here's the question:  how far can renewables go?  Where's the analysis demonstrating renewable equipment that we know can be built operating under known conditions at total-system costs competitive with conventional generation?  We have a downward cost trend (although the strength of that trend has been contested), but do we have a technical roadmap? 

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17 hours ago, mthebold said:

 

As NickW mentioned, I do think there are unaccounted for indirect costs, and we still lack sufficient evidence of renewables' reliability.  Still, renewables have come further than many predicted. 

Here's the question:  how far can renewables go?  Where's the analysis demonstrating renewable equipment that we know can be built operating under known conditions at total-system costs competitive with conventional generation?  We have a downward cost trend (although the strength of that trend has been contested), but do we have a technical roadmap? 

If we used today technology, we could go totally renewable but the cost especially as we neared the last 20% would be extremely expensive. But we know were the trends are heading (strongly) and with other technologies such as smart systems (from production to appliance), flexile price and so it, it very doable. But then expect some of the research to pay off with many new developments and black swarms will rise. To bet against it would not be wise.

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21 minutes ago, DA? said:

If we used today technology, we could go totally renewable but the cost especially as we neared the last 20% would be extremely expensive. But we know were the trends are heading (strongly) and with other technologies such as smart systems (from production to appliance), flexile price and so it, it very doable. But then expect some of the research to pay off with many new developments and black swarms will rise. To bet against it would not be wise.

In other words, no.  We do not have a clear roadmap for replacing conventional fuels with renewables at equal cost.  

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6 hours ago, DA? said:

If we used today technology, we could go totally renewable but the cost especially as we neared the last 20% would be extremely expensive. But we know were the trends are heading (strongly) and with other technologies such as smart systems (from production to appliance), flexile price and so it, it very doable. But then expect some of the research to pay off with many new developments and black swarms will rise. To bet against it would not be wise.

We most certainly would not go totally renewable. It is, in fact, extremely unlikely that we would bother with renewables at all - apart from hydro - unless there was government legislation mandating a certain percentage of renewables. They basically make managing any grid they are on considerable more difficult for now much reward in terms of emissions reduction.. 

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14 hours ago, mthebold said:

In other words, no.  We do not have a clear roadmap for replacing conventional fuels with renewables at equal cost.  

Errr, I think you misunderstand how technology evolves. Tony Seba is the person you need to see to get a picture on this. There is no clear road map for anything in the future. Was it Arthur C Clarke that said something along the lines - The only prediction I can make about the future that will be correct is any future prediction I make will be incorrect. But as I said future trends show we are heading soon into a time when renewables are not at equal cost (everything taken in to account, and even with those external costs not taken into account) but are the cheapest option by far. This is how we plan for the future by taking an educated guess on best data available, no matter what the industry or technology, or should be.

8 hours ago, markslawson said:

We most certainly would not go totally renewable. It is, in fact, extremely unlikely that we would bother with renewables at all - apart from hydro - unless there was government legislation mandating a certain percentage of renewables. They basically make managing any grid they are on considerable more difficult for now much reward in terms of emissions reduction.. 

On what do you base this with? Yes we need to change the grid, a proper free market for electricity prices and so on. Although many consumers in many markets will cut grid connection (economics). Everything is going to change, old industries that don't keep up will fail. I am willing to bet a cup of coffee that in ten years fossil fuel peak demand has occurred and in twenty years the majority of energy produced in the world will come from renewables. Every impossibility stated, every next stoppage to the renewable revolution has one by one been kicked out of the ball park, theres bit of a trend going on here.

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8 hours ago, DA? said:

Errr, I think you misunderstand how technology evolves. Tony Seba is the person you need to see to get a picture on this. There is no clear road map for anything in the future. Was it Arthur C Clarke that said something along the lines - The only prediction I can make about the future that will be correct is any future prediction I make will be incorrect. But as I said future trends show we are heading soon into a time when renewables are not at equal cost (everything taken in to account, and even with those external costs not taken into account) but are the cheapest option by far. This is how we plan for the future by taking an educated guess on best data available, no matter what the industry or technology, or should be.

Exactly: there's no clear road map.  Anything could happen.  Reports of coal's demise are premature.  We'll see how it goes.  

17 hours ago, markslawson said:

We most certainly would not go totally renewable. It is, in fact, extremely unlikely that we would bother with renewables at all - apart from hydro - unless there was government legislation mandating a certain percentage of renewables. They basically make managing any grid they are on considerable more difficult for now much reward in terms of emissions reduction.. 

To be fair, there are markets where solar coincides well with peak demand.  Up to some amount, integrating solar & storage into the grid reduces total system costs in these applications.  They're substantial regions, too.  Most of the American SW, the Middle East, parts of China, and North Africa could all benefit.  Will solar take over most of America, Europe, and Asia - the  vast majority of energy demand?  I haven't yet seen a path to that.

I also looked at Lazard's LCOE and noticed something interesting: they're assuming 55% capacity factor for wind, which is significantly above historical averages.  When I read about upcoming wind turbines, it was clear that 55% could be feasible in the right applications.  So wind is, in fact, making progress.  The question is, "Can wind overcome the loss of subsidies, saturation of the most desirable sites, increased transmission costs, and the cost of variability"?  That remains to be seen.  In particular, Lazard's claim that renewables are cheaper than conventional rests on a set of assumptions that don't model the real world.  They're cheaper in some markets, and then only to some percentage.  Could they claim more of the market?  Probably.  All of it?  As yet, there's no road map to that.  We'll see what happens.  

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5 minutes ago, mthebold said:

Exactly: there's no clear road map.  Anything could happen.  Reports of coal's demise are premature.  We'll see how it goes

Ask the Spanish, no more mining from the end of the year. Trump quietly walking back on promises of saving coal. Share's of coal companies a fraction of there value. Investment organisations turning their back. Think the five biggest USA private coal miners no longer. More coal mines in the USA closed since Trump took power than in the two terms of Obama. Coal in Australia with a bleak future even with such a coal pro government.

Not something I'd invest in. 

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2 minutes ago, DA? said:

Ask the Spanish, no more mining from the end of the year. Trump quietly walking back on promises of saving coal. Share's of coal companies a fraction of there value. Investment organisations turning their back. Think the five biggest USA private coal miners no longer. More coal mines in the USA closed since Trump took power than in the two terms of Obama. Coal in Australia with a bleak future even with such a coal pro government.

Not something I'd invest in. 

You're fond of compelling, emotional statements.  Take it down a notch.  

Yes, coal took a hit.  There were three reasons for this: 

1)  The MATS, which forced many older, less-efficient coal power plants to close.
2)  Reduced electricity demand in select areas.  This was aggravated by the recession and loss of manufacturing
3)  Cheap natural gas.  

The effect from MATS is over, reduced demand is being blunted by the growing economy & return of manufacturing, and natural gas prices could increase tomorrow.  

Cheap natural gas is the biggest factor.  Right now, we have an NG glut keeping prices steadily low.  Will NG remain cheap as petrochemical, CNG vehicles, CCGT plants, and other demands come online?  I don't know.  There was a time when we built oil-fired power plants expecting oil to stay cheap.  No doubt all the investors & bankers were given simplistic models & bought into the idea of oil power; we see how that panned out.  We have no reason to believe NG prices will remain so low.  The second they increase, predictions of coal's demise go out the window.  

So yes, coal took a huge hit, as was to be expected.  Despite that, it's still 30% of US electricity generation, there's no reason to believe that 30% is going away, and price variability - practically a beloved tradition in oil & gas - could bring coal back in an instant.  

We'll see what happens.  

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45 minutes ago, mthebold said:

You're fond of compelling, emotional statements.  Take it down a notch.  

Yes, coal took a hit.  There were three reasons for this: 

1)  The MATS, which forced many older, less-efficient coal power plants to close.
2)  Reduced electricity demand in select areas.  This was aggravated by the recession and loss of manufacturing
3)  Cheap natural gas.  

The effect from MATS is over, reduced demand is being blunted by the growing economy & return of manufacturing, and natural gas prices could increase tomorrow.  

Cheap natural gas is the biggest factor.  Right now, we have an NG glut keeping prices steadily low.  Will NG remain cheap as petrochemical, CNG vehicles, CCGT plants, and other demands come online?  I don't know.  There was a time when we built oil-fired power plants expecting oil to stay cheap.  No doubt all the investors & bankers were given simplistic models & bought into the idea of oil power; we see how that panned out.  We have no reason to believe NG prices will remain so low.  The second they increase, predictions of coal's demise go out the window.  

So yes, coal took a huge hit, as was to be expected.  Despite that, it's still 30% of US electricity generation, there's no reason to believe that 30% is going away, and price variability - practically a beloved tradition in oil & gas - could bring coal back in an instant.  

We'll see what happens.  

cheap gas took huge market share from coal. Now coal generators are in the majority getting old and very dated (if they are still there), it would take a large long term investment to build new plants. I don't expect gas to stay as cheap as it is, going to be interesting to see how the frackers manage to keep going when debts need to be paid. The great thing about solar and wind is it's cheap, comes on line quickly as demand requires, employs far more people (whilst staying cheap). The coal days are over, it may take time to playout but it's economics.

Interesting times ahead.

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