US utilities rush to diversify from coal, as renewables and storage to become kingpins in greener transition, says GlobalData

The COVID-19 pandemic has led utilities to rush and shift their focus to obtain electricity from the more cost-effective renewable sources, expanding energy storage and EV infrastructure. GlobalData predicts that generation from coal-based plants would reduce at an accelerated rate as several utilities in the US are planning to remove coal from their portfolios as renewables achieve grid parity.

Somik Das, Senior Power Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “GlobalData’s power database demonstrates that, in the US, coal-based generation formed around 24% of the overall generation in 2019, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is expected to shrink to 20-23% this year, meaning renewables will see a better share of the generation blend. Utilities in Indiana, Virginia and California are expected to spice up their renewables portfolios and energy storage in the coming future, which is likely to provide a boost to energy efficiency while keeping carbon emissions low.”

Aiming to shut down all of its coal-fired generating plants by 2035, Tucson Electric Power (TEP) of Arizona expects to attain 70% of its generation from solar and wind.

Das added: “Generation from wind and solar depends on seasonality and several environmental factors, thereby affecting its reliability. Energy storage and natural gas will help make wind and solar more reliable, and it is expected that, as renewables and energy storage become more affordable, these will allow more utilities to steer towards greener pastures and reduce their emission liability cost-effectively”

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