January 22, 2019 Read More →

EIA: Renewable energy capacity to climb sharply in next two years, while coal declines continue

CNN:

The boom in solar and wind power in the United States will deal a fresh blow to coal country in the next few years.

Renewable energy, led by solar and wind, is projected to be the fastest-growing source of US electricity generation for at least the next two years, according to a report published Friday by the US Energy Department.

Boosted by swiftly falling prices, utility-scale solar power is expected to increase by 10% in 2019 and 17% in 2020, the Energy Information Administration said. Wind power should grow 12% and 14% in those years, vaulting it ahead of hydropower for the first time.

Coal, long the king of the power industry, continues to rapidly decline. The share of total power generation from coal-fired power plants tumbled to 28% last year, compared with 45% in 2010, according to the EIA. Coal’s market share is expected to decline to 24% by 2020. US coal consumption declined by an estimated 4% in 2018 to the lowest level since 1979.

“Coal is just an expensive technology that can no longer compete,” said Kingsmill Bond, new energy strategist at Carbon Tracker, a think tank that examines the relationship between energy and financial markets.

Natural gas’ share of the US power market is expected to increase from 35% in 2018 to 37% by 2020, according to the EIA. Renewables other than hydropower are projected to grow from 10% in 2018 to 13% in 2020.

More: Solar and wind are booming, while coal keeps shrinking

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