Solar and wind power are on the rise, the year 2018. Was great for renewable energies. We had a few great supporting laws, and more and more people are ditching coal in favor of renewable sources of energy. This expansion in solar and wind power is accompanied by a few heavy blows to the coal industry, and it is predicted that this trend is going to continue in the following years as well.
The most recent report published by EIA forecasts that renewables will be the fastest growing source of electricity generation for at least the next two years.
EIA’s January 2019 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) predicts that electricity generation from solar generating units will grow by 10% in 2019 and by 17% in 2020, while the wind generation will grow by 12% and 14% during the next two years. In the same report, EIA forecasts that total electricity generation across on national level for all fossil fuels will fall by at least 2% this year and that there are no signs for any significant rise for the year 2020. It is also expected that hydropower will rise as well in the next two years, so it seems that this is a season of prosperity for all renewables nation vide.
The Sun is shining brightly especially for solar since the U.S. electric power sector plans to add more than 4 GW of solar capacity in 2019 and almost 6 GW in 2020. That is more than 38% increase in solar power compared with the year 2018 and Solar is now officially the third-largest renewable energy source in the United States, with wind and hydropower taking the first two places.
While in the same time coal and fossil fuel industry has suffered a few hard hits, with coal factories being shut down all across the U.S.
Coal is more unpopular than ever!
Coal, who for the log time was the ruler of the energy industry, is now on a rapid decline. The power generation from coal power plants dropped down for 28% last year, and according to EIA we can expect expected it to decline for another 24% by 2020. This is more than a 50 % drop in just two years! Coal consumption in the U.S. has not been this low since 1979.
This news might sound surprising to you, but only if you were not comparing the prices. For a long time now, Solar is a way more affordable option than coal, with its competitive prices and opportunity for savings. While coal, on the other hand, has nothing to offer and is becoming just an outdated, over-expensive solution for energy supply.
“Coal is just an expensive technology that can no longer compete,” said Kingsmill Bond, new energy strategist at Carbon Tracker, in a recent interview for CNN.
Solar has all the advantages compared to Coal: it is cheaper, it is a great investment because you can also generate profit from it by selling all excessive energy that you are not going to use back to the grind, and it is, of course, great for the environment as well. With Solar it is a win-win situation, while with coal you are only buying an overpriced opportunity to pollute the environment even more. So, it is no surprise that coal power plants are going out of business as we speak. It seems that despite President Trump’s promises to revive the Coal Industry, The Coal is destined to go down the drain.
Coal Factories are being shut down while Solar is on the Rise
As we said, many coal power plants have shut its doors since 2018, and this practice is going to multiply in the future. It is happening in Texas as well. At least three power plants from Texas went out of business in 2018 while more are planned to shut down by 2020. For example, The Big Brown Power Plant in Freestone County, TX officially shut its doors on February 12, 2018. This coal-powered plant owned by Vistra Energy was the first one to go in February, while two more power plants from the same company closed down in October 2018.
The mean reason is the price, the company owners said. The coal is no longer able to compete against low prices that Texas’ wind and solar sector are offering. With all the solar power installations going on in Texas, coal-powered plants are no longer necessary. Ches Blevins, head of the Texas Mining and Reclamation Association, is very direct in explaining why coal fell out of favor in Texas “You know, the bottom line is, it doesn’t bode well for the industry,” he said.
Google is supporting solar as well
On the other hand, the Sun is shining and roses are blooming for the solar power industry. More and more homeowners are installing solar panels every day and the prices are cheaper than ever. For example, even Google decided to go solar as well. Our most used internet browser is taking great pride in being the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy with projects in three continents. Last week Google had two major announcements regarding large scale purchases of solar power, both national and worldwide.
A few days ago, Google announced a new large scale solar power purchase by signing a long-term contract with Taiwan to purchase a 10-megawatt solar array for its nearby data center. That is not all. Google is also investing in local solar power as well. Just 1 week ago, Google announced that it will install more than 1.6 million solar panels in Tennessee and Alabama to power its two local data centers. The solar power that these solar panels will produce is exactly 413 megawatts—the equivalent of 65,000 home rooftop solar systems.
So, it seems that with coal falling out of favor and with new solar installations happening every day, that the Golden age of Coal is finally ower and that a new era for solar has just begun. We are looking forward to see what changes will come in the future.