Electric Vehicles Are Now Greener Thanks To Collapsing Coal Market
The dark side of EV ownership has reached lows not seen since the 70's!
"Output from the U.S. coal-fired generating fleet dropped to 966,000 gigawatthours (GWh) in 2019, the lowest level since 1976. The decline in last year’s coal generation levels was the largest percentage decline in history (16%) and second-largest in absolute terms (240,000 GWh).
Although lower electricity demand in 2019 was partly responsible for less coal-fired generation, the primary driver was increased output from natural gas-fired plants and wind turbines. Natural gas-fired generation reached an all-time record of nearly 1.6 million GWh in 2019, up 8% from 2018. Electricity generation from wind turbines also set a new record, surpassing 300,000 GWh, up 10% from 2018.
U.S. coal-fired capacity peaked at 318 gigawatts (GW) in 2011 and has been declining since then because many plants retired or switched to other fuels and few new coal-fired plants came online. By the end of 2019, U.S. coal-generating capacity totaled 229 GW.
The coal fleet’s rate of operation, or utilization, has also decreased. The U.S. coal fleet generated as much as 67% of its capacity in 2010, based on the operating capacity at the time. Coal’s utilization rate has declined since then, and in 2019, it fell to 48%.
Falling coal plant utilization rates have occurred at the same time as increased generation from competing sources. In particular, natural gas combined-cycle turbine (CCGT) plants ran at 57% of capacity in 2019 versus less than 50% of capacity for coal."