Signs that fossil fuels are declining

Despite resistance from the White House, there continue to be many signs that fossil fuels are in decline. Here are three headlines that offer hope for a new era.

EIA: Gas generation dropped 7.7% in 2017 while coal declined 2.5%

by Robert Walton, Utility Dive

March 20th, 2018

Dive Brief:

Changes to the United States’ power generation mix last year reflected fuel price fluctuations and the growth of renewable energy, though overall demand fell. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, total U.S. net generation fell by 1.5% in 2017, compared with the year before.
Natural gas generation fell most steeply by 105,443 Gwh, or 7.7%, and coal generation declined 31,248 GWh, or 2.5%. More than 11 GW of capacity retired last year, with most of that being coal.
Both wind and utility-scale solar cracked new records, according to EIA’s Electric Power Monthly. Wind accounted for 6.3% of total net generation, and utility-scale solar made up 1.3%.

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US electricity use drops, renewables push fossil fuels out of the mix

by John Timmer, Ars Technica

March 20th, 2018

Former Vice President Dick Cheney once said that “Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy.” But in the US, increased energy efficiency has helped drive a drop in total electricity use. That, combined with the rise of renewable power, caused the use of both coal and natural gas to decline last year.

The changes, according to the Energy Information Agency, are relatively small. Total electric generation last year was down 1.5 percent compared to the year before, a drop of 105,000 GigaWatt-hours. But both coal and natural gas saw declines that were even larger. Coal use was down by 2.5 percent, a smaller decline than it has seen in many recent years. But the numbers for its future aren’t promising; no new coal plants were opened, and 6.3 Gigawatts of coal capacity were retired in 2017.

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Powering down: Four Oxnard power plants to close this year, two proposals suspended in Oxnard, Santa Paula

by Chris O’Neal, VC Reporter

March 14th, 2018

The Ormond Beach Generating Station will go offline come October, but its fate as a former mainstay on the Oxnard coast remains a mystery as no plans have been made for its removal, and who bears responsibility for such a task remains unclear.

NRG Energy subsidiary GenOn owns the Ormond Beach and Mandalay generating stations as well as the land they sit on. GenOn filed for bankruptcy in June of 2017 and is expected to become its own standalone company by the end of 2018, according to David Knox, spokesman for NRG.

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