Editorial Page, Latest News

Editorial: US replaces coal with renewables while China adds nuclear power

The Herald-Dispatch

Coal’s share of the American power mix continues to decline as the nation moves more toward renewable sources and battery storage. On the other side of the world, China is ramping up both its coal-fired and nuclear power production.

Earlier this month, the federal Energy Information Administration reported that electricity generation from units that primarily consume coal in the lower 48 states decreased by about 23% between 2021 and 2023.

Those trends are seen here in West Virginia, too. The John E. Amos Power Plant in Putnam County produced 29% less power from coal last year than it did in 2021, according to EIA data. In the process, the amount of coal it burned dropped about 27%, from 4.8 million tons to 3.5 million. Amos’s production in the past two decades peaked in 2006, when it burned 8.1 million tons of coal.

The Mountaineer Power Plant in Mason County produced 30% less power in 2023 than in 2021, according to EIA data.

The EIA listed three factors for coal’s continuing decline:

Power plant operators have retired about 37 gigawatts, or 17% of the coal-fired fleet, since the beginning of 2021. But retiring and demolishing coal-fired units here in the Ohio Valley began more than a decade ago.

Natural gas-fired and solar generating capacity has increased.

“Utilities or grid managers generally select the lowest cost power available at a given point, which in recent years has usually been wind, solar, and natural gas rather than coal,” the EIA said. What the agency didn’t mention was how industries want cleaner sources of electricity. Local examples of that are the Toyota factory in Putnam County and the Nucor plant under construction in Mason County.

Read more: https://www.herald-dispatch.com/opinion/editorial-us-replaces-coal-with-renewables-while-china-adds-nuclear-power/article_62d4ca5e-3797-5d7e-9348-eaa61860375e.html

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

And get our latest content in your inbox

Invalid email address