It would appear that with increasing numbers of of coal powered power plants, the argument we must use them until they need retiring does not appear to hold anymore.
A Friends of the Earth study looking at 6,696 power plants around the world and a further 1,046 that are currently being built 46% will be unprofitable in 2020 up from 41% in 2019.
This takes into account any carbon pricing and other pollution charges, as well as the general running cost.
It seems to be forgotten that when building a solar farm the panels are expensive, but then forget the fact that you don’t need to build a huge building to house them, they can just sit out on stands in the fields.
It’s thought that the percentage of unprofitable coal power plants will increase to 52% by 2030.
It is possible that China will back this trend as they have announced further investment in coal power plant to help boost the economy after the Covid-19 emergency, however nearly 60% of China’s coal power plants are already running at a loss so this doesn’t seem to make much sense.
While building coal powered power plants has not made much business sense for a while, it now doesn’t seem to make financial sense either. Generally the cost of building the coal power plant is calculated over about 15 years. Given the fact that coal power will be so much more expensive within those 15 years and therefore electricity from other sources is likely to be coming online many of these plants will never recoup the initial investment let alone make any level of profit.
There have been a large number of people around the world who have ignored the science as it has become clearer and clearer that we must stop burning coal. One notable example is Trump who continually talks about clean coal as though this is a thing. It would appear that in the near future there will be a price to pay for ignoring the science on the effects of coal burning – it may have taken time but the money invested in low-carbon power creation is finally about to pay off. Whether you like burning coal or not it is soon not going to be financially viable – though due to the world governments propping up fossil fuels through subsidies it might take a few extra years before it start the acceleration of closing down power plants.