Amid Pandemic, US Renewable Power Sources Have Topped Coal For 40 Days

“Electricity generated by renewable sources like solar, wind and hydro has exceeded coal-fired power in the United States for a record 40 straight days, according to a report based on U.S. government data released on Monday.

The boost for renewables is due to a seasonal increase in low-cost solar and hydro power generation, alongside an overall slump in electricity demand caused by coronavirus-related stay-at-home orders, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. Coal tends to be the first power source to be cut by utilities when demand falls because subsidized renewable sources are cheaper to operate and often backed by state clean-energy mandates.

The IEEFA report, which is based on preliminary data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration going back to late March, reflects how the coronavirus pandemic could accelerate a shift away from coal-fired power, despite Trump administration efforts to prop up the ailing industry.”

Nichola Groom reports for Reuters May 4, 2020.