|In this Issue|
|Renewable Energy Surpasses Coal|
|For the first time, electricity generation is led by renewable sources|
According to a U.S. Energy Information Administration report
from earlier this year, renewable sources have surpassed coal in the generation of electricity for the very first time in history. Renewable energy such as wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal power accounted for 22% of electricity generated in the U.S. compared to 20% by coal. This change can be attributed to the historically low cost of solar and wind and the increased concern about the environment and climate change. The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis
also credits seasonal factors as a contributor as well.
This renewables breakthrough comes even though President Trump had made reinvigorating the coal industry a big part of his campaign promises. But even environmental rule cutting can be outdone by economic drivers. It now costs less to build a new solar or wind farm than it is to keep an existing coal plant open. In addition, a large number of states have renewable portfolio standards (RPS) which are increasing the economic pressure on existing fossil-fuel plants even more. Since the 2016 election, 51 coal plants have closed and several have filed for bankruptcy protection.
Given the better economics and renewed public focus on the environment, the trend towards carbon-free electricity should continue to climb.
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