No Country for King Coal — the Changing U.S. Energy Mix
Coal’s decline contrasts strong growth among non-hydro renewables like wind and solar
As of late last year coal formed the backbone of U.S. electric generation capacity. At a share of roughly 39 percent, it still does. However, the U.S. energy mix is rapidly changing and coal is past its peak
In 2015, the U.S. is expected to retire nearly 13 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired generation – three times more than last year. An additional 5.2 GW will be retired in 2016. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) are the primary cause of this year’s large-scale retirements. MATS are slated to enter into force by year’s end, and the retrofits necessary to meet the increased emissions standards are largely, and by design, cost-prohibitive.