, 9 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
Recent @bradplumer article for @nytimes asks - will utilities replace #coal with #naturalgas or #renewableenergy? Utilities are diverging along those paths, but the math for renewable and storage economics is more compelling than many understand. A thread:
1/ If you concede that natgas or some "firm" capacity is for balancing and to meet peak, it's fair as a rule of thumb to say solar plus storage replaces that service until we get to much higher penetrations of renewables. We can rely for now on 450 GW of existing gas.
2/ @Lazard LCOE v12 puts the LCOE of natgas at $41-74. Consider two interesting numbers. The first is yesterday's contracts for 1200MW solar and 590MW storage in Nevada. Only one contract for 200/100 MW of solar + 4hr battery announced prices. greentechmedia.com/articles/read/…
3/ The battery price adder was $13/MWh, on top of solar at $20/MWh, for a combined price of $33/MWh. Implication: we can now shift ~25% of renewable generation (assuming 30% CF) for less than the difference between NG and RE LCOE. And storage prices will continue dropping.
4/ Now, you might say "That's sunny Nevada, what about the rest of the country?" Consider also the following solar LCOE graph in 2025 by @VibrantCE @EnergyInnovLLC (unsubsidized @NREL ATB). Solar is available at $20-40/MWh EVERYWHERE in 6 years. (.gif credit to @Silvio_Marcacci)
5/ Did I mention #solar is EVERYWHERE? Siting becomes the leading policy constraint in this context, not cost. Same for wind (even cheaper where plentiful), and add transmission to the list. This is a major economic opportunity for rural America.
6/ Regulators should worry that even where natural gas is the right option today, it will be uneconomic compared to rapidly falling storage and solar costs within a few years. New natural gas is extremely risky in this context.
7/ yesterday @AEEnet hosted a webinar "what happens when wind and solar win on price" where I made this argument, alongside representatives from @NIPSCO, @USPowerPlan (the inimitable Ron Lehr), and @PatternEnergy. We should put #naturalgas in the rear view mirror.
8/ A working .gif:
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