2019 Brought Cleaner Air Due to More Coal Plant Shutdowns
According to the latest data from the U.S. government and Thomson Reuters, coal plants closed at a record rate last year, resulting in greener production methods for electric vehicles. Here’s a brief overview of the statistics, as well as some more eco-friendly changes that occurred in 2019.
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The U.S. retired 15.1 gigawatts of coal-fired electricity generation capacity in 2019. Per Green Car Reports, that’s the equivalent energy needed to power about 15 million homes. It will replace the coal plants with more environmentally friendly production methods in 2020. This year, the Energy Information Administration predicts that the U.S. will save 5.77 GW of coal-based energy due to coal plant shutdowns. The EIA also estimates that the new energy sources will be 22 percent natural gas, 32 percent solar power, and 44 percent wind power.
To put last year’s coal plant shutdown rate in perspective, that’s the second-fastest shutdown rate coal plants have had in this country since 2015 during the Obama administration. And, if the coal shutdown trend continues, Reuters claims that more coal plants will have retired during the first four years of Trump’s administration than during Obama’s second term.
Other positive steps toward reducing emissions
Rhodium Group, an independent research entity, confirms that nationwide emissions linked to climate change dropped 2.1 percent. Coal-fired electricity output dropped to 18 percent, which is the lowest it’s been since 1975.
Though we’re only a few weeks into 2020, some coal plants already have impending closures. Per Reuters, Tri-State Generation and Transmission plan to retire two of its plants in New Mexico and Colorado. As 2020 continues to play out, it will be interesting to see how many other plants shut down to make way for alternative energy-powered sources.
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Whitney Russell is a current resident of Dayton, though her spirit can be found beach-bumming on Puerto Rico (the land of her half-Puerto Rican heritage). When not adventuring through the exciting world of car news, she can be found hiking with her husband and their two dogs, motorcycling, visiting her cute nephews and nieces, discovering new memes, reorganizing and/or decorating some corner of the world, researching random things, and escaping into a great movie, poem, or short story. See more articles by Whitney.