New solar and wind farms will soon cost less than many of the world’s coal-fired power plants, and governments should invest in them to boost economies amid the coronavirus, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.
Coal plants with a capacity of up to 1,200 gigawatts will probably be more expensive to run by next year than new, large-scale photovoltaic solar plants, said the organization, which advises countries on curbing their use of fossil fuels.
“Renewables must be the backbone of national efforts to restart economies in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak,” the Abu Dhabi-based agency’s director general, Francesco La Camera, said in a report Tuesday. “We have reached an important turning point in the energy transition.”
Replacing 500 gigawatts of high-cost coal plants with solar and wind farms would reduce carbon emissions by about 1.8 gigatons, equivalent to 5% of CO2 emissions in 2019, and save consumers billions of dollars, Irena said. Power generated from coal mostly comes from the U.S., China, India, Poland, Germany, South Korea and Ukraine.
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