According to Bloomberg, renewable energy supplied more of the U.S.’s electricity than coal in April 2019.
Data released by the Energy Information Administration in late June said that “hydroelectric dams, solar panels and wind turbines generated almost 68.5 million megawatt-hours of power in April, eclipsing the 60 million that coal produced that month,” according to Bloomberg.
The growth is being attributed to the rapid-fire growth of solar and wind farms across the country, and as more power plants choose to be fueled by natural gas instead of coal. Bloomberg also anticipates that solar and wind farms have become so cheap that half of the world’s power could come from renewable energy by 2050.
Still a Ways to Go
While the increase of renewable power sources is growing, it’s by chance that it surpassed coal this past spring: coal-fired power plants did not produce as much in April due to routine yearly maintenance. Once it has caught up post-maintenance, coal is also projected to climb back to the number two fuel source for electricity after natural gas.
However, while coal may climb the ranks again, Bloomberg says the mining industry is collapsing, “even as President Donald Trump works to restore coal to its former glory by gutting environmental rules.” Citing Fitch Ratings, Bloomberg also says that coal’s popularity will tumble in the next ten years: “Even by 2028, hydro, wind, solar and biomass are expected to have a slightly smaller combined footprint in the U.S. than coal, according to a report this week by Fitch.”
Business-wise, large companies are pulling support from the coal industry and plugging into renewables. For example, multiple tech firms are working to boost renewable energy purchases in corporate America through formulating the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, striking big deals with large corporations like General Motors, Walmart, and Alphabet, Google’s parent company.
Additionally, large companies are investing in initiatives to push for cleaner energy; Bloomberg’s founder, Michael Bloomberg, is committing $500 million to launch a campaign called Beyond Carbon. The campaign’s goal is to close the remaining coal-powered plants in the U.S. by 2030, and slow the development of new gas plants, Bloomberg says.