Morgan Stanley forecasts 70K-190K MW of coal-fired generation is "economically at risk" from the deployment of a "second wave of renewables" in the U.S.

"Driven by the surprisingly low cost of renewables, we believe that carbon-heavy utilities that have not historically led the pack in clean energy deployment will accelerate their earnings growth by pursuing a 'virtuous cycle': shutting down expensive coal plants and investing in cheap renewables," Stanley analysts say, seeing American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP), Dominion Energy (NYSE:D), Southern Co. (NYSE:SO), Pinnacle West (NYSE:PNW), PPL Corp. (NYSE:PPL) and Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) as the utilities with the "largest opportunity" to achieve a valuation rerating under this approach.

"Now there is a much greater opportunity to achieve kind of a triple-bottom-line benefit in the sense of customers [through lower bills], the environment and shareholders," Morgan Stanley's Stephen Byrd tells S&P Global Platts. "There is an opportunity now that we think some utilities will seize... the benefit that other utilities have achieved with their share price performance that have embraced that opportunity."

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