Coal is still America’s third most important energy source, but that won’t last long as two of America’s biggest coal plants are set to cease operations this month. The reason? Slowing electricity demand for coal, climate regulations, and consumers having cheaper alternatives for energy.
Arizona’s 2.5-GW generating station stopped operations after no suitable buyer was found for the plant. This plant alone spewed the equivalent of 3.3 million cars in CO2 emissions.
The second plant that closed this month was the Pennsylvania 2.7-GW station after its owners filed for bankruptcy. This station was meant to operate for an additional 2 years, but poor performance caused the station to shut down this month.
Even though some predictions pointed at the increased use of coal in the energy industry, most forecasts didn’t take into consideration other energy options becoming way more affordable. For example, natural gas has become cheaper than Appalachian coal, and renewable energy has become a whole lot cheaper in recent years due to plummeting production prices.
With renewables set to become cheaper this year, we’re bound to see the use of coal subside even more in 2020.