Science

Renewable Energy is on the Upswing New Data Reveals

Renewable Energy is on the Upswing New Data Reveals”

The difference boils down to roughly 8.5 million megawatt-hours less of fossil fuel-driven power.

A full 22% of the electricity generated in the U.S.in April came from renewable sources like wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal power, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which released the official figures this week after early projections emerged in May. It is also the least quantity of coal the USA has burned in over a decade.

Electricity from renewable sources posted a 23% share of all electricity generated in April compared to a 20% share from coal-fired generation.

Coal has been losing favor over the past few years as attention shifted to shale and natural gas.

Despite Trump's claims, at least 50 coal-fired power plants have close down since Trump became president in 2017. "The trend is irreversible now, the decline of coal is unstoppable despite Donald Trump's rhetoric". Nonetheless, the month of April was marked by some uncommon events which helped set the stage for this major milestone. During those seasons, coal generation drops, and some plants are shut down for maintenance.

In the United States, overall electricity consumption is often lowest in the spring and fall months because temperatures are more moderate and electricity demand for heating and air conditioning is relatively low.

"We've seen gas creating competition for coal for a while, but now we have renewables getting cheap", Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign, told CB MoneyWatch recently. In 2018, about 15 GW of wind and solar generating capacity came online.

Meanwhile, coal-considered the dirtiest electricity source-has been in a long-term decline, with use of the rock dropping to a 41-year low this year.

Wind generation posted a monthly record of 30.2 million MWh in April, while utility-scale solar generation totaled almost 7 million MWh, short of the record-high 7.8 million MWh posted in June of a year ago.

And if fossil fuels were priced in a way that reflects the environmental and health costs they produce, a recent report from the International Monetary Fund has found that carbon dioxide emissions would have been 28 percent lower, which would free-up about US$3 trillion for governments to spend in other ways. On an annual average basis, EIA expects that coal will provide more electricity generation in the United States than renewables in both 2019 and 2020, but it expects renewables to surpass nuclear next year.



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