The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that coal-fired power plants will generate less electricity in 2024 (599 billion kwh) than the combined generation from solar and wind (688 billion kWh) for the first time on record.

Coal faces the sharpest decline in EIA’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, released Dec. 12. The agency cites the growing number of renewable energy sources, low natural gas prices and continued coal plant retirements.

Accordingly, EIA projects U.S. coal production to fall to its lowest level since the early 1960s.

“Coal production is becoming even less cost competitive in power markets as more renewable capacity comes online and Inflation Reduction Act policies further bolster zero-carbon generation,” reads the outlook.

Solar is the fastest growing source of U.S. electric power generation. EIA expects 37 GW of new solar generating capacity to come online in 2024, up 39% from 2023. That’s on top of the agency projecting 23 GW to come online in 2023, a 33% increase from last year.

EIA said the U.S. added 9 GW of new battery storage capacity in 2023, doubling the total amount compared with what was operating at the end of 2022.

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