Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New solar and wind energy projects are "undercutting the cheapest and least sustainable of existing coal-fired plants" worldwide, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said in a report Tuesday.

Driving the news: The group finds that in 2021, roughly 1,200 gigawatts of coal-fired generation may have higher operating costs than the average price of new utility-scale solar.

  • It also finds that onshore wind has slightly higher costs but still undercuts about 850 gigawatts of coal by 2021.
  • That finding is part of a wider look at falling costs for a suite of renewables technologies and how they stack up to fossil generation.

By the numbers: Retiring the least competitive 500 gigawatts of coal plants and replacing them with solar and onshore wind would save $12 billion to $23 billion annually in power system costs, they conclude.

  • That would cut CO2 emissions by 1.8 gigatonnes, which is 5% of last year's global total, per IRENA, the roughly decade-old intergovernmental group that advises nations on renewables policy.

What they're saying: “We have reached an important turning point in the energy transition. The case for new and much of the existing coal power generation is both environmentally and economically unjustifiable," Francesco La Camera, IRENA's director-general, said in a statement.

Go deeper

Europe pushed to finance natural gas, nuclear as part of Green Deal

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Europe is facing pressure to include natural gas and nuclear power as part of its plan for sustainable finance.

Why it matters: Europe represents the progressive edge of the world’s response to climate change and controls a lot of finance in developing nations, so what it does on these controversial energy sources could set the bar globally.

Pandemic worsening lack of clean-energy innovation, report says

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Most technologies necessary to aggressively tackle climate change are not yet ready on a mass scale, and the coronavirus is likely to delay development.

Driving the news: That finding is from a report from the International Energy Agency released Thursday, ahead of a meeting of top government officials next week to discuss clean-energy innovation and how to incorporate it into economic recovery plans.

Updated 15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 11,143,945 — Total deaths: 527,681 — Total recoveries — 6,004,593Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 2,818,588 — Total deaths: 129,584 — Total recoveries: 883,561 — Total tested: 34,213,497Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona's hot spot reach near capacity.
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Trump extends PPP application deadlineKimberly Guilfoyle tests positive.
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: 31 MLB players test positive as workouts resume.
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.