HealthDay operates under the strictest editorial standards. Our syndicated news content is completely independent of any financial interests, is based solely on industry-respected sources and the latest scientific research, and is carefully fact-checked by a team of industry experts to ensure accuracy.
- All articles are edited and checked for factual accuracy by our Editorial Team prior to being published.
- Unless otherwise noted, all articles focusing on new research are based on studies published in peer-reviewed journals or issued from independent and respected medical associations, academic groups and governmental organizations.
- Each article includes a link or reference to the original source.
- Any known potential conflicts of interest associated with a study or source are made clear to the reader.
Please see our Editorial and Fact-Checking Policy for more detail.Editorial and Fact-Checking Policy
HealthDay Editorial Commitment
HeathDay is committed to maintaining the highest possible levels of impartial editorial standards in the content that we present on our website. All of our articles are chosen independent of any financial interests. Editors and writers make all efforts to clarify any financial ties behind the studies on which we report.
TUESDAY, June 6, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Replacing coal with solar power would save American lives and money, according to a new study.
"If we're rational and we care about American lives -- or even just money -- then it's time to end coal in the U.S.," said study co-author Joshua Pearce. He is an associate professor of materials science and electrical engineering at Michigan Technological University.
Tens of thousands of Americans die early due to health issues linked to air pollution. Michigan Tech researchers calculated the human toll of burning coal along with the possible benefits of switching to solar power.
They analyzed regional electric costs and calculated the number of U.S. deaths per kilowatt hour each year for coal as well as solar power. They also estimated the potential return on investment of solar installations using U.S. Department of Energy data.
The study found that if the United States transitioned from coal to solar photovoltaics (PV), nearly 52,000 lives would be saved with an investment of $1.1 million per life.
"Everybody wants to avoid wasting money. Just based off the pure value of electricity of the sensitivities we looked at, it's profitable to save American lives by eliminating coal with solar," Pearce said in a university news release. "Unlike other public health investments, you get more than lives saved. In addition to saving lives, solar is producing electricity, which has economic value."
Installing enough solar power to replace coal in the United States would cost $1.5 trillion, researchers said. They concluded that would be a smart investment.
"Solar has come down radically in cost, it's technically viable, and coupled with natural gas plants, other renewables and storage, we have ways to produce all the electricity we need without coal, period," Pearce said. "There's roughly 7 million people who die globally from air pollution every year, so getting rid of coal could take a big chunk out of that number as well."
Researchers said refusing to accept solar power as an alternative to coal would be like computer companies opposing newer technologies to make their machines better and faster.
The study was published June 1 in Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews.
The U.S. Department of Energy provides more on solar power.
This story may be outdated. We suggest some alternatives.
The content contained in this article is over two years old. As such our recommendation is that you reference the articles below for the latest updates on this topic. This article has been left on our site as a matter of historic record. Please contact us at email@example.com with any questions.