Menu Close

Major milestone: Coal consumption falls behind renewable energy in the United States

Renewable Energy | Student EnergyThe last time the United States consumed more renewable energy than coal was in the 19th century, when hydropower was just getting started and wood burning was a major fuel source.

 

Now, it’s happening again, as the nation consumed more energy last year from renewable sources like solar and wind than from coal. This is the first time that has happened since before 1885.

 

The milestone, announced Thursday by the US Energy Information Administration, demonstrates the dramatic shift away from coal despite President Donald Trump’s promises to prop up the industry.

 

America’s coal consumption collapsed by another 15% last year to its weakest level since 1964, the EIA said. The sixth-straight year of declines for coal occurred even as Trump has slashed environmental regulations and installed a former coal lobbyist to lead the EPA.

 

 

Renewable energy, by contrast, continues to boom as costs fall and climate change concerns rise. Consumption of renewable energy in the United States hit a record high last year, the fourth-straight years of growth, the EIA said.

 

“We are moving away from coal steadily, consistently and quickly,” said Dennis Wamsted, research analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. “The Trump administration has been completely unable to turn around the market transition to cleaner and cheaper renewable energy.”

 

 

Coal has played a dominant role in America’s energy grid going back to the 1880s. It was supplanted by natural gas, a cleaner-burning fossil fuel, in 2016, a transition caused by the abundance of cheap natural gas from the shale oil and gas revolution and tougher environmental regulations.

 

Now, coal faces steep competition from renewables like wind, solar, hydro and geothermal. Wind has been growing especially fast and last year power generation from wind surpassed hydro for the first time ever and is now the most popular form of renewable power generation in the United States.

 

It’s important to note that the EIA stats announced Thursday measure only consumption, not power generation. From that perspective, coal still lead renewables, at least for now.

 

The first time the United States generated more electricity from renewables than coal occurred in April 2019, and it’s likely to happen on annual basis for the first time in 2020, despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

 

“People want renewables. Corporations are asking for it,” Wamstead said. “They are being pushed by consumers.”

 

Power companies are rapidly shutting down coal-fired power plants in favor of natural gas and renewable energy under pressure from the public and shareholders. Xcel Energy (XEL) and Duke Energy (DUK), power companies that long relied on coal, have pledged to go carbon-free in the coming decades.

 

 

Just this week, the latest pledge came from Southern Company (SO), which gets 27% of its power from coal and 47% from natural gas, announced at its annual shareholder meeting a new target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

 

The utility previously promised to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 — a goal it now expects to hit as early as 2025.

 

Having promised to dump coal, power companies are facing pressure from shareholders and activists to abandon fossil fuels entirely by transitioning away from natural gas. Long seen as a bridge fuel, there are growing concerns about methane emissions and leakage caused by using natural gas.

 

“That’s going to be the next battle,” said Wamsted.

 

View: Source
View: More News

Related Posts

55 Comments

  1. http://tinyurl.com/

    My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and
    find nearly all of your post’s to be what precisely I’m looking for.
    Does one offer guest writers to write content to suit your needs?
    I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating on some of
    the subjects you write about here. Again, awesome website!
    asmr 0mniartist

  2. http://tinyurl.com/yh4yvkv4

    You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this
    matter to be really something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complicated and extremely broad for
    me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to
    get the hang of it! 0mniartist asmr

  3. is asmr

    You can definitely see your expertise in the article you write.
    The arena hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say
    how they believe. Always go after your heart.

  4. that asmr

    I think that what you said made a great deal of sense.
    However, consider this, suppose you wrote a catchier post title?
    I am not suggesting your content is not good., but suppose you added something that makes people desire more?
    I mean Coal consumption falls behind renewable energy in the United States | EcologyFunds.com is kinda boring.
    You could peek at Yahoo’s front page and
    watch how they create post headlines to grab viewers interested.

    You might add a related video or a related pic or two to grab readers excited about everything’ve got to say.

    Just my opinion, it might bring your posts a little
    bit more interesting.

  5. asmr the

    This is very interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger.
    I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your excellent post.
    Also, I’ve shared your site in my social networks!

  6. your asmr

    Hi i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anyplace, when i read this paragraph i thought i could also make
    comment due to this good paragraph.

  7. http://bitly.com/

    scoliosis
    I’m pretty pleased to uncover this web site.
    I want to to thank you for ones time for this fantastic read!!
    I definitely loved every bit of it and I have you book-marked to look at new stuff in your blog.
    scoliosis

  8. http://j.mp/

    scoliosis
    Definitely consider that that you said. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the web the easiest thing to understand of.
    I say to you, I definitely get irked even as other people consider worries
    that they just don’t recognise about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also
    defined out the whole thing with no need side effect , other folks can take a signal.
    Will probably be back to get more. Thanks scoliosis

  9. https://6869milesoflove.tumblr.com/

    dating sites
    Hi, I do think your website could be having web browser compatibility issues.
    When I take a look at your website in Safari, it looks fine but when opening
    in Internet Explorer, it’s got some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with
    a quick heads up! Besides that, excellent website!
    free dating sites

  10. dating sites where

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought
    this post was good. I do not know who you are but definitely you’re
    going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.