Renewables Surpass Coal For The First Time in the U.S.

KB Electric LLC likes to blog about current events that pertain to our industry. So, when we saw this piece of news, we decided to share!

Renewable energy for electricity generation surpassed coal for the first time in the U.S. in April 2019. This is big news, and goes to show that renewable energy for electricity generation is making waves across the country.

According to the EIA’s (Energy Information Agency’s) Electric Power Monthly report, 23% of electricity was generated by renewables, and 20% was generated by coal during the month of April. Renewable energy sources include hydropower (water), solar, wind, geothermal (Earth’s heat), and biomass (organic plant matter, etc.). 

The term renewable energy is a source of energy that is infinite, meaning it doesn’t run out when used to generate electricity. It’s important that our society focuses on renewables not just for our carbon footprint, but to lessen our reliance on resources that deplete over time.  

This spring of 2019, wind and solar generation were the two sources that contributed to the increase in renewable energy, with more farms on the map. The demand for heating and cooling also decrease in the springtime, which contributes to the decrease in demand for natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy (fossil fuels), as their generators undergo maintenance during this time. 

That’s not to lessen the feat of renewables surpassing coal in April though. More generating capacity installations for wind and solar became live, hydropower peaks in the springtime due to melting snow, which increases the amount of water in streams that utilize downstream generators, and coal generation overall since 2015 has decreased, with practically no new coal capacity coming online. 

Despite the fact that renewables surpassed coal in April, the EIA forecasts coal beating out renewables for the remaining months of 2019, as well as 2020; however, renewables are expected to beat out nuclear power next year.