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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New analysis from the firm Energy Innovation finds that building new U.S. wind and solar power generation is very often more cost-effective than continuing to run existing coal-fired power plants.

The big picture: "[Seventy-two] percent of existing U.S. coal capacity and 80 percent of existing U.S. coal plants are either more costly to continue operating compared to building new nearby wind or solar plants, or are slated to retire in the next four years," a summary of the "coal crossover" report notes.

Overall, the firm finds that 182 coal plants are uneconomic or slated to shut down in the next half-decade.

The intrigue: New wind and solar projects currently receive federal tax credits, so we wondered how much of new wind and solar's economic edge relies on those incentives.

  • Co-author Eric Gimon, in an email, notes that their analysis found that of those 182 coal plants, 45-50 would be "economic" in their analysis absent those renewables tax credits.

Yes, but: He added that it's likely that "every plant in the data set would fail our economic filter if the full cost of heath impacts and GHG emissions was factored in."

  • "I suspect that as time goes on, federal subsidies will have less and less impact (as they diminish and renewables continue to get cheaper) on the energy-cost comparison between coal and renewables," Gimon notes.

Go deeper

California energy commission mandates solar panels for new buildings

A person carrying a solar panel into a home in a home in Alamo, California, in May 2017. Photo: Scott Strazzante/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

The California Energy Commission voted Wednesday to require solar panels and battery energy storage systems in new commercial buildings and certain multifamily residences beginning in 2023, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: It's an aggressive step in California's transition away from fossil fuels and broader drive to cut carbon emissions, although the provision must first be approved by the state's Building Standards Commission.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Exclusive: Meta's civil rights chief aims to "turn the knob" for good

Photo Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Meta

A year ago, Facebook brought in Roy Austin, Jr. to lead a new team focused on civil rights. Since then, he has assembled a squad of experts advising parent company Meta on everything from voting rights to hate speech to ensuring new products don't have discriminatory impact.

The big picture: Austin's team of nine must tackle those tough issues inside a company of nearly 70,000 employees serving more than 3 billion users around the world.

Momentum builds for salary transparency

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New York City will soon require employers to supply a salary range when they're advertising a position — the biggest step yet in the growing but controversial movement for pay transparency.

Why it matters: Laws like New York's aim to give workers, particularly women and people of color, more power in job negotiations. But the rise in remote work is throwing a wrench into the effort.