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April 22, 2019 by Joseph Tomain

Twin Peaks: The Fossil Fuel Edition -- Part II

Fossil fuels are reaching their consumption peak. By way of example, the United States has a surfeit of coal, but coal use is on the decline as natural gas and renewable resources replace the dirty fuel for generating electricity. Similarly, oil and natural gas are on the same decreasing consumption trajectory as recent data and modeling suggest.

Consider the following market facts that directly impact coal and reveal its consumption peak:

  • In Europe, fossil fuels peaked when renewables reached 3 percent of the market.  
  • The majority of new electric capacity comes from solar, wind, and natural gas.  
  • Today, local wind and solar can replace 74 percent of the coal fleet, and by 2025, it will be sufficient to replace 86 percent of the fleet.  
  • Since 2013, 100 banks have restricted or left coal lending.  
  • In 2016, Peabody Coal, the nation's largest coal company, declared bankruptcy after having been a high flier as recently as 2008.

Those projections indicate that by the mid-2020s, solar and wind will constitute 6 percent of all energy produced in the United States and will account for 14 percent of the country's electricity consumption, far surpassing the magic 3 percent penetration level.

Such market trends should …

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