MIT Energy Initiative


Mapping the economics of U.S. coal power and the rise of renewables

It’s incredible to see how fast solar and wind costs have dropped and how soon they can become competitive with even the cheapest legacy coal if historical rates of cost decline are maintained.

Joel Jean, graduate student

CoalMap is an online tool that allows users to explore the potential effects of various market factors on the cost-competitiveness of coal versus renewable energy. Users view CoalMap as a map of the continental United States showing the locations of current coal plants, with markers indicating each plant’s nameplate capacity and relative cost. As users apply different carbon prices, deployment subsidies, and rates of cost decline for solar and wind, they can observe the effects of these changes on the cost-competitiveness of renewable energy across the country.

Research Team

Tony Wu Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Fanni Fan MIT Sloan School of Management