Apples to Apples

It looks like clean already costs less than coal, for Austin, right now. According to overlooked data in the Pace Reports and analysis by energy consultant Mike Sloan (, clean will cost Austinites less.

Graph (to the left) extracted from the Pace Reports by Mike Sloan,

in order from least expensive to most expensive:

1. Energy Efficiency
2. Wind
3. Coal
4. Solar
5. Natural Gas CC
6. Nuclear
7. Natural Gas Peaker

more detail below

Didn’t think it could happen? Check the The Pace Reports. “Slide 17” (not shown here) demonstrates that replacing Austin’s coal plant with Renewables has a lower projected mean cost than keeping Austin’s coal plant running for 10 more years. (Download the Pace Reports here:

Furthermore, the Pace analysis makes this apples to apples observation, without including costs & risks attributable to rising fuel costs and the likelihood that pollution will become more expensive, via federal regulation. “Austin Energy’s own consultants estimate that federal regulations on carbon will double the cost of operating Austin’s coal plant in future years.” (source:

Finally, the Pace Reports in now way consider the hard to quantify impacts Austin’s coal plant has on human health and the environment. According to Austin’s coal plant is directly connected to mountaintop removal, importing its coal from both West Virginia and Wyoming. (see Austin’s connection:

More on this next week.

I’ll be starting a Facebook group soon — hope you’ll check that out.

Wishing you a great weekend! ~ Chris


*Check out more from Mike Sloan via:
*”Nat Gas CC” = Natural Gas Combined Cycle
*”Nat Gas Peaker” = Natural Gas power plant that generally only runs at peak production, when there is high demand


Graph Detail

relative costs:
Efficiency — #3 capital costs, 0 fuel costs, 0 emissions.
Wind — #4 capital costs, 0 fuel costs, 0 emissions.
Solar — #6 capital costs, 0 fuel costs, 0 emissions.
Coal — #2 lowest capital costs, #2 fuel costs, worst emissions.
Nat Gas CC — #1 lowest capital costs, #3 fuel costs, #1 emissions.
Nuclear — highest capital costs, #1 fuel costs, 0 emissions (waste is radioactive).
Nat Gas Peaker — #5 capital costs, highest fuel costs, #2 emissions.

*Lower number = lower cost/impact.

Graph Key

  • “blue” shows capital, operational & maintenance costs.
  • “orange” shows fuel costs.
  • “green” shows emissions impacts.

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