“Less power is being used during the pandemic. Less power means less use of coal to make power. Coal is stacking up, unused and un-needed is some places. Coal has not been the fuel-of-choice for some time. Electric generation from coal has decreased 32 percent in four years says one energy consulting firm.” (Source)

That’s what ECC said earlier this year as the pandemic took hold of the economy. That blog was also among our most popular this year. We are revisiting those blog topics that struck a chord in 2020.

Here are some updates about energy and the pandemic.

In our blog, ECC noted, “‘Just about everything that can go wrong, has gone wrong for the coal industry,’ says Matthew Preston, a coal analyst … He says coal demand this year is down between 35 and 40% from last year, ‘and last year wasn’t a great year.’” (Source) (image right) It’s one thing to advance the use of coal when there is a need for power. It’s another when there is an overall reduction in power generation.”

Still true. More so, really.

One class of fuel, not coal, is gaining in the pandemic. “In sharp contrast to all other fuels, renewables used for generating electricity will grow by almost 7% in 2020. Global energy demand is set to decline 5% – but long-term contracts, priority access to the grid and continuous installation of new plants are all underpinning strong growth in renewable electricity. This more than compensates for declines in bioenergy for industry and biofuels for transport – mostly the result of lower economic activity. The net result is an overall increase of 1% in renewable energy demand in 2020.”That from the International Energy Agency.

“Immune to Covid,” is the way that agency’s executive director describes renewables.

It’s more than the pandemic, though. ECC found this article (left) about New Mexico, which sums up some reasons for the change: “Through a mixture of legislation, incentives and business deals, New Mexico has accelerated its transition to generating more energy through renewable methods.”

New Mexico is swiftly changing its energy environment, with no small help from its main utility. “PNM Resources continues its efforts to move away from fossil fuels. The utility recently announced a merger deal with Connecticut energy company Avangrid Inc., which PNM said would help overcome certain obstacles related to its goals of going carbon free by 2040.”

Even with a pandemic there are trends that continue, maybe even increase. Use of renewables appears to be one of those trends. A march toward carbon-free power sources looks unstoppable.


Feature image – solar power – from Gulf Power