Renewables beat coal in the US – First time ever
Finally, the falling cost of renewables in the US and a drastic drop in the popularity of coal have led to the renewables generating more electricity than coal for the first time ever.
April was a favorable month for renewables, with low energy demand and an uptick in wind generation. This means that coal may once again pull ahead of renewables again during 2019, although the long-term trends appear to be set.
“The fate of coal has been sealed, the market has spoken,” said Michael Webber, an energy expert at the University of Texas. “The trend is irreversible now, the decline of coal is unstoppable despite Donald Trump’s rhetoric.”
Coal, which supplied more electricity than any other fuel source a decade ago, has been losing both to natural gas and to wind and solar farms, Bloomberg News reported. It is estimated that half the world’s power could come from clean sources by 2050. A report from Fitch said that coal would surpass renewable energy overall through 2028, but the EIA predicts more months in which the renewable sources will pull ahead.
However, as coal declines, some utilities are shifting to gas, also a fossil fuel. Energy companies are planning to build at least 150 new gas plants and thousands of miles of pipelines in the coming years, The New York Times reported.
“Gas infrastructure that’s built today is going to be with us for 30 years,” Rice University Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Daniel Cohan told The New York Times. “But if you look at scenarios that take climate change seriously, that say we need to get to net zero emissions by 2050, that’s not going to be compatible with gas plants that don’t capture their carbon.