April and May set a symbolic milestone in the transition to renewable energy sources in the USA, as the projections of the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEFFA) show that renewables are expected to have higher contribution than coal in total energy production. The US Energy Information Administration forecasts that all renewables will account for 18% of US produced electricity in 2019, reaching 20% in 2010.
Wind power especially is on the rise, while the trend in coal-based energy generation is clearly falling. This comes to no surprise after a recent report which concluded that three quarters of US coal production are more expensive than solar and wind energy. Given the financial evidence in the study, by 2025 all coal production in the US will be more expensive than renewable energy, due to rising maintenance costs in coal plants and the improvements in renewable technologies. Half of all US coal mines have shut down in the past decade and more are being retired.
Individual states take initiatives to commit to 100% renewable energy generation (Hawaii, Washington DC and more recently Puerto Rico) or to become 100% carbon-free (California and New Mexico). The encouraging increase in the share of renewables in total energy production has now to compete with natural gas, which is the leading energy source in the US, as well as with the institutional support of the government towards fossil fuels and oil exploration.