> This incredible pace of solar cost decline, with average prices in sunny parts of the world down to a penny or two by 2030 or 2035, is just remarkable. Building new solar would routinely be cheaper than operating already built fossil fuel plants, even in the world of ultra-cheap natural gas we live in now. This is what I’ve called the third phase of clean energy, where building new clean energy is cheaper than keeping fossil fuel plants running. Even in places like Northern Europe, by the later 2030s we’d see solar costs below the operating cost of fossil fuels, providing cheap electricity in summer months with their very long days in the high latitudes. These prices would be disruptive to a large fraction of already operating fossil fuel power plants – particularly coal power plants, that are far less able to ramp their power flexibly...
(hat tip to the Forge the Future newsletter: https://forgethefuture.substack.com/?no_cover=true)
I predict a lot of fossil plants will convert to simply providing inertia for grid stabilisation and charge for the service. They won't burn anything any more and may even demolish their stacks and cooling towers. They will just keep their generators and turbines connected to the grid as a big virtual flywheel to dampen spikes in demand / supply and maintain the AC frequency within tolerance.