A few months ago a local reader opined that a citation from the Energy Information Administration regarding renewable energy outproducing electric production from coal was a bit obscure. Perhaps a May 13 excerpt from the New York Times would aid in removing the doubt that renewable energy is becoming dominant.

“In just the first four and a half months of this year, America’s fleet of wind turbines, solar panels and hydroelectric dams have produced more electricity than coal on 90 separate days — shattering last year’s record of 38 days for the entire year.”

As was previously noted, renewable energy truly is set to overtake coal soon, likely for good. The current pandemic has accelerated the process. Energy giants like Xcel are buying into wind and solar as fast as they can without overtly signaling this to the public. There are plans to retire at least four dozen large coal plants by 2025, and no utility is currently planning to build a new coal facility.

Coal is the dirtiest of our current energy options and is on its way out. Not many young people will have a career in this area.

In yesterday’s mail our local electrical cooperative reinforced the speedy movement away from coal noting that the co-op’s carbon footprint will be reduced to near zero by the end of 2023 without any coal being used. And here’s the kicker — wholesale power rates will be decreasing.

The next carbon-based energy source in line to be overtaken by renewables is natural gas, which is usually a by-product of fracking for oil. Fracking and tar sands related projects like Line 3 looks less and less intelligent as we watch reductions in oil demand that are due in no small part to the dramatic increase in energy use efficiency that electric vehicles bring.

Last week Chevron announced plans to reduce its global workforce by 10 to 15 percent. It is very possible that not many young people will work long in the oil industry either.

Who would’ve guessed that America would far outperform plans to embrace renewable energy?

If only two pieces of advice could be offered to young people today, I would tell them grow your own food and think about a career in renewable energy.

The Creator’s blessings to all,

Mike Tauber

Backus

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