After a steady rise that lasted nearly 50 years, U.S. coal consumption peaked about a decade ago. Since the peak in 2007, coal consumption in the U.S. has fallen an astounding 44%. US Coal Consumption 1949 to 2019 There are two primary reasons behind coal’s death spiral. Both were aided by legislation aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The first was that the shale gas boom in the U.S. unleashed massive new supplies of cheap natural gas. This made it economical for power plants to switch from coal to natural gas. Power produced from natural gas has lower associated carbon dioxide emissions. The second was tremendous growth in the availability of cheap renewables like wind and solar power. As the price of these renewables declined, they grew exponentially. Since 2007, consumption of renewable power in the U.S. has more than quadrupled. Consumption of renewable power in […]