Two weeks ago,
we covered a US Energy Information Administration (EIA)
projection that renewable wind, solar, and hydroelectric power
would top coal for total electricity generation in 2020. That was
particularly believable given that renewables had beat coal in
daily generation every day going back to March 24. As it happens,
that daily streak finally came to an end this week, as coal picked
up amid rising demand and a couple low days for wind. Coal likely
topped renewables on Tuesday, although it’s possible that
rooftop solar generation (not included in EIA’s daily data)
extended the run until Wednesday.
But the EIA also released
some numbers Thursday that highlight a related and interesting
piece of trivia: if you include energy use beyond the electric
sector and all types of renewable energy, renewables actually beat
out coal last year. And to find the last time that was true, you
have to go all the way back to the 1880s.
This comparison includes biofuels (like ethanol and biodiesel),
wood-burning, and waste incineration or landfill gas. And beyond
electricity, it adds in energy used by industry, residential and
commercial buildings, and transportation—uses where coal plays
little or no role.
Source: FS – All – Science – News
2019 was first year since 1880s that US coal lost to