For the last 12 years, coal generation in America has been in steady decline. In 2022, wind, solar, and hydro collectively generated more electricity than coal plants. There’s no escaping it: the coal fleet is getting creaky.

Despite this, hundreds of coal plants are still in operation nationwide. A team of analysts at Energy Innovation and the University of California, Berkeley, wanted to know how many of those aging coal plants are more expensive to run than wind and solar. The results were stunning.

Only one coal plant in America is cheaper to operate than building new renewables. So with 99 percent of coal plants being the more expensive option, it begs the question: why haven’t utilities ditched coal?

This week, we’ll speak with Mike O’Boyle, senior director for electricity policy at Energy Innovation, about the nuances of the transition away from coal – and why economics alone aren’t enough to push the oldest, dirtiest plants into retirement.

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