News Brief

Coal's Star Falling; Natural Gas on Upswing

By Evan Dick

Coal fired generating stations, like this one in Knox, Indiana, are predicted to become less cost competitive as carbon taxes and other regulatory measures are implemented in the coming decades to curb greenhouse gas emmissions.

Photo: Michael Lavoie
A new report assessing the current state of eight major power generation technologies projects a move away from coal as its costs rise in the next 20 years due to high carbon emissions.

Natural gas is projected to be the cheapest energy source in the report from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), based largely on its availability through newly cost-effective extraction technology from North American shale. Costs for nuclear will remain steady, EPRI predicts, while the price of biomass, solar, and wind are expected to come down slightly.

The authors used a model to compare the costs of different generation technologies, an approach that allowed them to take carbon taxes into account as well as startup and operational costs, which vary greatly between generation methods.

The report does not take into account the costs and environmental degradation associated with fossil fuel extraction, especially the with regard to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, used in natural gas extraction. For the full report, visit

Published August 30, 2011

Dick, E. (2011, August 30). Coal's Star Falling; Natural Gas on Upswing. Retrieved from

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