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Energy

Wind power poised to surpass coal; nuclear grabs international attention

Dec 05, 2023

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Wind power could produce more electricity than coal by 2026, according to Gavin Maguire’s commentary piece for Reuters. Data from think tank Ember revealed that coal-fired electricity generation was 60% greater than that of wind in the first 10 months of 2023. However, that lead could shrink as companies are closing coal plants and pivoting to renewable energy sources.

The landscape has shifted and indicates it will continue to do so. Renewable energy sources surpassed coal in the electric power sector for the first time in 2022, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Nuclear energy is also experiencing a resurgence. The U.S. and over 20 other nations have pledged to triple nuclear energy capacity by 2050.

“Nuclear power that adheres to the highest safety, sustainability, security and non-proliferation standards has a key role to play in keeping 1.5 C within reach” climate envoy John Kerry posted on X.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s benchmark is 1.5°C, representing the critical threshold for limiting global warming compared to pre-industrial times.

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WIND IS PICKING UP ACROSS THE US — WIND POWER, THAT IS. GENERATION COULD SURPASS COAL-FIRED ELECTRICITY GENERATION BY 2026, POTENTIALLY EVEN SOONER, ACCORDING TO A COMMENTARY PIECE FROM REUTERS.

DATA FROM THINK TANK EMBER SHOWS THAT, FOR THE FIRST 10 MONTHS OF 2023, COAL-FIRED ELECTRICITY GENERATION WAS ABOUT 60% GREATER THAN THAT FROM WIND. BUT THAT LEAD COULD SHRINK AS COMPANIES ARE CLOSING COAL PLANTS AND PIVOTING TO RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES.

THE LANDSCAPE IS SHIFTING. RENEWABLES AS A WHOLE ALREADY SURPASSED COAL IN THE ELECTRIC POWER SECTOR FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 2022–ACCORDING TO THE ENERGY INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION.

NUCLEAR POWER IS ALSO BECOMING MORE POPULAR. THE U.S. AND MORE THAN 20 OTHER COUNTRIES HAVE AGREED TO TRIPLE NUCLEAR POWER BY 2050.

THE AGREEMENT WAS ANNOUNCED AT COP28 OVER THE WEEKEND.

CLIMATE ENVOY JOHN KERRY POSTED ON X, SAYING: “NUCLEAR POWER THAT ADHERES TO THE HIGHEST STANDARDS OF SAFETY, SUSTAINABILITY, SECURITY, AND NON-PROLIFERATION HAS A KEY ROLE TO PLAY IN KEEPING 1.5 C WITHIN REACH.”

1.5 DEGREES CELSIUS IS THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE’S BENCHMARK TO LIMIT GLOBAL WARMING. THE GOAL: KEEP THE PLANET FROM WARMING MORE THAN THAT COMPARED TO PRE-INDUSTRIAL TIMES.