August 28, 2020 Read More →

Renewable energy tops coal, nuclear for second spot in U.S. electricity market in Q2 2020

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):

Renewable generation further increased in the second quarter compared to the prior year, surpassing coal and nuclear generation and becoming the second-largest provider of U.S. electric generation during the period.

Utility-scale generation net of hydroelectric pumped storage fell 4.4% year over year in April through June to 932.4 million MWh, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest “Electric Power Monthly” released Aug. 25.

Gas-fired generation climbed 3.2% versus the prior-year period to 367.6 million MWh in the second quarter, accounting for 39.4% of the net total. Coal-fired generation declined 27.5% to 152.5 million MWh to account for 16.4% of the nation’s electricity. Nuclear generation slipped 2.9% to 190.7 million MWh.

Over the same period, renewable output climbed 5.3% to 211.6 million MWh, increasing the share of renewables to 22.7% compared to 20.6% in the prior year. Wind and solar generation grew 11.7% and 23.5%, respectively.

For June, utility-scale generation inched 0.5% higher year over year to 353.4 million MWh. Gas-fired generation climbed 4.6% to 143.2 million MWh, while coal-fired generation declined 16.7% year over year to 65.5 million MWh. Nuclear output was down 2.3% during the same period to 67.2 million MWh. Renewable generation rose 16.2% to 74.0 million MWh as conventional hydro, wind and solar output increased.

Power-sector coal stockpiles fell by 3.6 million tons during the month, below the 10-year average draw of 6.0 million tons. During the prior 10 years, June stockpile fluctuations versus the prior month have ranged from a draw of 10.3 million tons to a build of 1.8 million tons. The EIA estimates that the June stockpile level of 150.7 million tons translates to 126 days of burn and 104 days of burn, respectively, for bituminous and sub-bituminous coal, 61.1% and 49.0% above the five-year averages for the month.

[Krizka Danielle Del Rosario]

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