Daily Energy Insider
Electricity generation from renewable sources exceeded coal-fired generation for the first time in April 2019, according to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Electric Power Monthly report.
Renewable sources provided 23 percent of total electricity generation while coal accounted for 20 percent. Renewables includes hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass. This shift reflects seasonal factors – as electricity generation is often at its lowest point during these spring months. But it also reflects long-term increases in renewable generation and decreases in coal generation. Wind generation hit an all-time high in April 2019 with 30.2 million megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity generated. Solar reached near record numbers.
Also, hydroelectric generation, which remains the largest source of renewable electricity in most months, totaled 25 million MWh in April.
U.S. coal generation has declined from its peak a decade ago as 47 GW of U.S. coal-fired capacity has retired since 2015. And in that time, virtually no new coal capacity has come online. EIA expects another 4.1 GW of coal capacity to retire in 2019, accounting for more than half of all anticipated power plant retirements for the year.
According to EIA’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, coal is expected to provide more electricity generation than renewables in the United States for the rest of 2019. On an annual average basis, coal will produce more electricity generation in the United States than renewables in both 2019 and 2020, but renewables are expected to surpass nuclear next year.