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New Studies Find them as Reliable and Cheap as Fossils. Can renewables cost less than fossil fuel generation? And are they as reliable? It appears so, especially when they are coupled with a suite of distributed energy resources (DERs), such as virtual power plants and demand response. New reports by Energy Innovation Policy and Technology and the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) lay out the argument. In the The Coal-Cost Crossover, Energy Innovation partnered with Vibrant Clean Energy to create data about coal, wind and solar costs. The report compares coal plants’ marginal cost of energy to the lowest levelized cost of energy for wind or solar resources located near the plant. Costs for most coal plants ranged between $33–111/MWh. Costs in 2018 for solar were between $28-52/MWh. “We simply took all the annual generation in MWh from the coal plant and examined how much it would cost to build local wind or solar resources to replace that energy,” said Mike O’Boyle, Energy Innovation’s director of electricity policy.