According to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEFFA), it looks like renewable energy in the US will be surpassing coal in electric energy production for the first time ever this month.
Renewables include solar, wind, hydro, biomass and geothermal energy and the combination of all renewables is expected to generate more electricity than the traditional coal-fired plants in April. This is a first in the history of electrical energy production.
Renewables are expected to surpass coal in May as well according to projections from data of the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) received by IEEFA. Data received show that 2,332 and 2,271 thousand megawatts-hours (MWh) of energy per day is expected to be produced by renewables in April and May, respectively, while coal during those same two months is only expected to produce 1,997 and 2,239 MWh/day.
Usually spring and fall months are the peak times for a rise in renewable generated electricity because those are the times coal plants slow down for maintenance in order to prepare for high electrical energy usages in the summer and winter months the EIA projections show.
In actuality for the total of 2018, coal-fired plant electric generation reached a five year high. However, it is predicted that by the end of 2020, it will be reduced by 7 gigawatts over all.
Also forecasts are being made by the EIA that renewables in solar, wind and hydro-electric generation in 2019 will produce 18 percent more of electricity used in the US and by 2020 almost 20 percent with wind generation to surpass hydro-electric production and becoming the leading source as far as renewable electricity.
At the same time during this same two-year period CO2 emissions are expected to fall due to temperatures returning to ‘almost normal,’ but the major factor is the increase usage of renewable energy and natural gas production of electrical power.
Renewable energy production is competing with coal just as natural gas was a few years ago. Since January of 2018 though, natural gas production exceeded coal for the first time and continues to maintain its lead in electric generation production.
Nuclear power generated electrical production has also gotten into the discussion of providing more energy while reducing emissions, buts it’s the renewables that will be taking the lead in competing with natural gas while coal begins to slowly take a back seat and fade away in the future.