States are retiring coal plants at a rapid pace, and it has more to do with markets rather than the Clean Power Plan or emissions, according to Bill Ritter, director of the Center for the New Energy Economy.
Ritter, also former Governor of Colorado, brings the states’ perspective to the move to renewable sources for electric power. “Our analysis in just the West is that 45 percent of all the coal is planned to retire in the next nine or 10 years. Another 40-45 percent of that 100 percent will retire the decade after that.”
However, in planning to bring more renewable sources online, you need to look at what each source is, and what it isn’t and plan accordingly. John Woolard, CEO of BrightSource Energy and the former vice president of energy at Google, said that a new, dynamic system needs to deploy large amounts of wind and solar distributed through the system, “but do it in a way where you have things like natural gas plants that can actually ramp and move and accommodate because right now they are a lot cheaper than storage.”
Either way, opportunities abound for states, entrepreneurs, investors and researchers in the new age electric economy.