Renewable electricity production has surpassed that of coal in the United States, according to a study.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic that is slowing the country’s economy, green energies have overtaken coal in power generation for 40 consecutive days, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).
The institute called the results a “milestone” in the US transition to clean energy.
The organization attributed the record to lower gas prices, warmer temperatures and sharply lower demand for electricity, as businesses went out of business. According to the Energy Information Administration, overall electricity consumption is expected to drop 3% this year.
Coal, inexpensive and easy to convert, thus fell below 15% of market share.
However, it remains the second source of electrical energy in the United States, with 30.4% of national production in normal times, but it represented 50% in 2008. Natural gas, also emitter of greenhouse gases, but in smaller quantities, sits in first place with 33.8%.
According to the IEEFA, the share of renewable energies in the electricity mix could exceed coal for good in 2021, since it expects an increase of 11% in their share. Currently, solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectricity represent 16.1%.
Nuclear energy, which does not emit GHGs but is politically difficult to promote, completes the picture.