The pandemic-related economic shutdown cut electricity demand. In response, utilities turned off their coal plants.
Infographic: Coal Power Fades
Jul 9, 2020
by Jeffrey Winters
That coal projection – 15 percent of electricity generation – was based on preliminary data from utilities. The reported data from February 2020 was scarcely better, with coal earning an 18 percent share of the electricity market and still finishing fourth if one lumps solar, wind, and hydropower together in one category. For the year, the EIA expects coal generation will fall by 25 percent.
The EIA report has an even bigger shock tucked away in its data tables. In April 2021, according to the forecast, renewables may surpass gas as the top source of electric power in the U.S., at least for that month. That’s a situation that would have been inconceivable just a few years ago.