Monday, September 16, 2019
The CEO of the world's largest private coal company sat before a group of U.S. lawmakers who wanted to know whether the fuel had a future. He didn't hesitate. "Coal," he said, "is the future."
It was 2010. Coal supplied nearly half of America's power, the executive testified, and was growing more than 1.5 times faster than oil, natural gas, nuclear and renewables combined. Global demand was on pace to rise 53% within two decades. And renewable energy? Not an option. "Wind and solar comprise just 1% of today's U.S. energy mix," Gregory Boyce, then the chief executive of Peabody Energy Corp., told the members of Congress. "It is unrealistic to suggest that renewables could replace conventional baseload fuels."
Not quite. This April, for the first time ever, renewable energy supplied more power to America's grid than coal"the clearest sign yet that solar and wind can now go head-to-head with fossil fuels. In two-thirds of the world, they've become the cheapest forms of power.
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