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Wind and solar energy are now the lowest cost options, fossil fuels are struggling to stay competitive against renewables

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Renewable energy is crushing nuclear energy - and all other forms of power from dirty fossil fuels. There is only one new nuclear plant being built in the US, and all the existing nuclear plants are “bleeding cash” and struggling to stay competitive against renewables. In the draft report from the US Department of Energy that was leaked this past summer, even the Trump government admits that fossil fuels and nuclear are simply no longer economic compared to clean and modern renewable energy sources.

And a recent study from the financial firm Lazard Ltd. shows that wind and solar energy are now cheaper than fossil fuels such as diesel, nuclear, coal, and in most cases natural gas. Clearly, governments and utilities around the world will from now on have a hard time justifying anything but renewable energy.


It wasn't long ago that Lazard's analysis wasn't so favorable to renewable energy. In 2010, version 4.0 of Lazard's levelized cost of energy study had wind costs at 6.5-11.0 cents per kWh and solar at 13.4-19.4 cents per kWh. Natural gas, coal, and nuclear all beat solar on a cost basis, and in some cases beat wind. 

Clearly, the tides have shifted in the energy industry. Fossil fuels is at best flat and in some cases getting more expensive, while renewable energy costs are coming down every year. There's no indication these trends will reverse course, and investors need to consider whether they're using renewable energy's growth as a tailwind for their portfolio or fighting the clear trends in energy. If these charts are any indication, fossil fuels' days may be numbered. 

So investing and building new renewables is now cheaper than just maintaining old nuclear and fossil fuel plants.

This study was based on numbers from North America, a developed country where conventional energy sources such as nuclear and fossil fuels are less expensive to operate. In developing countries, conventional energy sources are much, much more expensive to build and operate. So the advantage renewable energy has in developed countries, such as the US, is even bigger in developing countries like China and India.

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Here are some fresh new numbers showing the transformation and growth of renewables in the US: Renewable energy tops 18 percent of U.S. electricity grid, rivaling nuclear

Renewable energy, such as hydroelectric dams and wind and solar farms, is now close to surpassing the power generated by nuclear energy in the US. In 2017, renewable energy accounted for 18 percent of electrical generation - more than double what they did a decade ago. Meanwhile, nuclear energy represented 19.7 percent of the total electrical generation on the grid.

Although renewable energy isn't receiving any support from the Trump administration it's clear that renewables are unstoppable - even for Trump and his buddies in the fossil fuel industry. And this expansion of renewables is already showing results, the country's greenhouse gas emissions are now at their lowest level since 199.

But much more can - and should - be done! It's a shame that political ideology, corporate and fossil fuel interests are allowed to slow down this transformation of our electrical grids.

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