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Goodbye coal: the era of dirty energy in the US is quickly drawing to a close

Dynamics of coal consumption in the United States in billion US tons per year. Source: US Department of Energy, Bloomberg

In 2020, the United States consumed 447 million US tons * of coal **, which is the equivalent of 4 million railroad cars. Sounds impressive, but this is a record low since 1965. A few more years of similar dynamics and coal consumption in the United States will reach its lowest values ​​since the 19th century.

*ProFinance.ru: a non-metric unit of mass equal to 2000 trading pounds or approximately 907 kilograms

**ProFinance.ru: 91% of the coal was used to generate electricity, and the rest was used for steel production and other industrial needs

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This year, demand for coal in the United States is recovering thanks to an increase in electricity consumption, which is due to the post-crisis recovery of the country’s economy. The US Department of Energy predicts that coal consumption will grow 12% this year. However, in the future, no reason is visible that can stop the protracted drop in demand for coal, which in the period from 2010 to 2019 inclusive decreased by an average of 5% per year.

In recent years, fractionated natural gas has been the main competitor for coal, but today it is already being squeezed out by solar and wind energy. BloombergNEF predicts that coal consumption by US power plants will drop to about 50% of troubled 2020 lows by 2030.

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Coal became the main source of energy in the United States in the late 1880s, replacing wood. In the 1950s, he lost the palm gasolinehowever, there was a revival in the coal industry at the end of the 20th century when coal again became the main fuel for power plants in the United States.

Now, his “dirty” era seems to be quickly drawing to a close.

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