Monday, March 12, 2012

US Energy: Coal Declining While Renewables Increasing

Coal is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the world and as revealed by its use in America at the end of 2011, it appears to be declining. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) coal's share of monthly power generation in the US decreased to below 40 percent in both November and December 2011. We have not seen monthly oil totals below 40 percent in more than three decades (March 1978).

The reason given for this decline is falling natural gas prices. Another factor involves the closure of 106 coal plants between January 2010 and February 2012. These coal plants represents a total emissions profile of 162 million tons of carbon a year.

EIA data also shows that renewable energy generation is increasing. This growth has been supported by Federal and State programs, including federal tax credits, state renewable portfolio standards, and a federal renewable fuels standard. The EIA forecasts that renewable energy will account for 33 percent of the overall growth in electricity generation from 2010 to 2035.

Federal production tax credits and grants for electricity from certain renewable sources as well as State-level renewable portfolio standards have encouraged both capacity additions and increased generation from wind and other renewable sources.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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