Putting the wind up coal
Despite the dogged efforts of the Trump administration, the renewable energy sector is forecast to generate more electricity than its fossil-fuel rival coal during April. And that will be a first for the US economy, according to a new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.
And renewables could well out-do coal in the month of May too. Plus the government’s Energy Information Administration sees renewable generation topping coal-fired output sporadically this year, as well as during 2020.
While seasonal factors are certainly in play here, the IEEFA calls this “a momentous development driven by the deep transition underway in the electric generation arena”. It adds that it’s likely that renewable output will begin outpacing coal more and more frequently—just as occurred with natural gas.
And the tipping point for renewable energy actually may already have been reached in the oil-rich state of Texas, where natural gas, wind and, increasingly, solar, are steadily pushing coal out of the system.
“The state’s coal plants are used heavily during the hot summer months, but the gap is closing,” the IEEFA notes. “In 2018, solar and wind output totalled 78% of coal’s generation and… the race is narrowing.”