Hydropower, solar and wind power generated over 68 million megawatt-hours of power in the US in April 2019, exceeding the 60 million generated by coal-fired power in the country, and for the first time, clean energy outstripped “dirty power” in supplying the country’s grid.
The April figure also represents the country’s highest clean energy output to date, and the lowest amount of coal-fired energy produced in years, but the reason behind the drop in coal is less altruistic – most of the decline was due to routine spring-time maintenance.
The cost-effectiveness of solar and wind power have made the adoption of the two technologies not just feasible, but budget-friendly for US utilities, and Bloomberg NEF has predicted that more than half of the world’s energy may be sourced by renewables by 2050.
Until as recently as a decade ago, coal-fired power provided the majority of the US’ capacity requirements, eventually making way for natural gas, which still supplies the majority of the US grid.
With the coal-fired units under maintenance expected to be back online in the Summer months, the fossil-fuel is expected to regain its number 2 spot as US President Donald Trump rolls back on climate change commitments and voices further support for the already-collapsing coal mining sector.