Coal mine and wind turbines in Hambach, Germany. Image: Alice-D Shutterstock

Renewable energy and wind power are becoming more efficient every day and can now compete with traditional thermoelectric power plants.

In 2018, the European renewable production provided 32.3% of the European electricity mix, against 30% of coal. This information was provided by the company Agora Energiewende.

The statistics can be very encouraging, but they have a bias that needs to be clarified. The existing reduction varied depending on the type of coal.

Anthracite.

It is a rare, mature charcoal that has the ability to burn clean and hot. In this case, there has been a decrease in human activities.

Lignite.

Its application has been maintained at the industrial level. This is due to its heavy use in the electrical system as it is chemically broken down by the gasification of coal.

Although green energy sources are rapidly gaining popularity, anthracite and other types of coal remain an important part of the global energy mix.

Green energies vs thermoelectric power stations.

Today, solar and wind power is more competitive by introducing more efficient technologies and that they require less personnel and maintenance costs. For example, a wind turbine produces twice the energy it could produce ten years ago.

This has allowed the renewable energy sector to progress and even to be able to compete with traditional thermoelectric power plants.

Solar power station, Seville. Image: Denis Zhitnik Shutterstock

Production technologies have different costs and returns which can be difficult to compare. For these reasons, it is necessary to switch to an energy price called megawatt hour (MWh).

the Level Energy Cost (LCOE) It is a metric that takes into account the cost of operational components, lifespan and even debt for each type of energy and allows a comparison between them.

In 2018, the indicator of coal is between $ 27 and $ 45 per megawatt. A park wind has an LCOE of $ 29 to $ 56 and the park solar it is between $ 31 to $ 44 dollars per megawatt.

In the medium term, renewable energies will be more present in European society. For this reason, the growth of infrastructure and energy distribution networks is important.

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