Report: For 1st time, U.S. renewables produced more electricity than coal in April |

Report: For 1st time, U.S. renewables produced more electricity than coal in April

Stephen Huba
Tribune-Review File
The Bruce Mansfield Plant in Shippingport (shown here in 2015) is FirstEnergy’s largest coal-fired power plant and is scheduled for closure in 2021.

Renewable sources of energy produced more electricity than coal in April — a first for the United States, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday.

Renewable sources — hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal and biomass — provided 23% of total electricity generation to coal’s 20% in April, according to EIA’s Electric Power Monthly. EIA attributed the development to seasonal factors, as well as long-term increases in renewable generation and decreases in coal generation.

Electricity consumption is generally down in the spring and fall months because of moderate temperatures and lower demand. Consequently, electricity generation from fuels such as natural gas, coal and nuclear is lower during those months.

Record generation from wind, near-record generation from solar and seasonal increases in hydroelectric generation all contributed to the rise in renewable electricity generation this spring, according to EIA.

What’s more, U.S. coal generation has declined from its peak a decade ago. Since the beginning of 2015, about 47 gigawatts of U.S. coal-fired capacity has retired, and virtually no new coal capacity has come online, EIA said.

Coal is expected to provide more electricity generation than renewables for the remaining months of 2019, according to EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook.

Despite a downward trend because of competition from natural gas, coal remains a significant source of energy in Pennsylvania and the U.S., according to a recent study commissioned by the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance.

Of the 47.2 million tons of bituminous coal produced in Pennsylvania in 2017, 58% was used for electric power generation, the study said.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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