Renewable Energy Use Projected to Surpass Coal by 2021

USA Today | November 28, 2019

The United States will likely get more power in 2021 from renewable energy than from coal, the Institute for Energy Economic and Financial Analysis has projected, CNN reported Wednesday.

“The next piece of the energy transition is very close at hand,” Greentech Capital Advisors partner PJ Deschenes said. “Coal is coming offline as fast or faster than we anticipated,” while solar and wind power continue to grow rapidly.

Coal provided about half of the nation’s power generation between 2000 and 2010, but its usage began to decline sharply late in the last decade due to the abundance of cheap natural gas.

Despite President Donald Trump’s vow to save the coal industry, its decline has continued. American power companies are rapidly retiring old coal plants and replacing them with wind and solar farms, while utility companies are promising to provide carbon-free electricity.

Coal’s market share is expected to fall below 22% next year, compared with 28% last year.

A stunning example of this transition is in Texas, where wind made up just 0.8% of its power as of 2003 but is now at 22%, according to Carbon Brief.

This means that for the first time in Texas history, wind power has surpassed coal, which is now at only 21%.

The same trend is also occurring overseas, as global electricity production from coal is seen as falling by a record 3% this year.

This drop is due not only to record decreases in the use of coal by Germany and South Korea, but also the first decline in India in more than three decades.

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