• Coal firing falls to 35 year low in USA

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

Coal firing for electricity generation has fallen to a 35 year low in the USA, as a report by John Kemp at Reuters has described, using data from the Energy Information Administration. The first half of 2018 saw 270 million metric tonnes of coal burned for electricity, the lowest amount since 1983 (when coal far outweighed any other means of power generation, but total demand for electricity was lower than today). At the expense of coal has come gas firing, wind and solar, with coal falling over the last year by almost 6% while total electricity generation rose by close to 5%. Gas-fired generation rose by a sizeable 17% over the last year. As another 9 GW of coal-fired capacity is due to close by the end of 2020, the short-term outlook for power generation using the fuel is for continued decline. Much of the coal-fired fleet across the US is between 35-50 years old, having been built in the aftermath the oil crisis of 1973, and to continue to use these plants is generally unappealing to utilities, meaning that in the medium term, too, a revival is looking unlikely for coal.