Whitney Russell
No Comments

2019 Brought Cleaner Air Due to More Coal Plant Shutdowns

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page
coal plant pollution energy
2020 should bring even more coal plant shutdowns, to further reduce emissions in the U.S.
Photo: Pxhere

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.

Go Farther with Green Energy: Learn about the 2020 Chevy Bolt EV’s increased electric range

The stats

General Motors Bowling Green Solar Array
Solar power is just one of the greener energy sources that will replace retired coal plants

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

Clean air
New Mexico and Colorado are just two of the states cracking down on emissions by closing some coal plants
Photo: NGerda

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.

New Year, New Service: Know when it’s time to change your vehicle’s oil