The U.S. grid’s coal-fired power plants produced 966 million megawatts-hours in 2019. This is remarkable, the first time in decades that coal plants produced less than a billion megawatt-hours. And this number is forty-eight percent down from coal plant production nine years earlier, in 2010.
Here’s another way to think about coal’s diminishing role in generating electricity. The grid’s nuclear power plants produced 809 million megawatt-hours in 2019. The way things are going, with coal’s role falling and nuclear’s role keeping steady, it won’t be long before coal falls behind nuclear and nuclear assumes the second largest share of the grid’s generation (behind only natural gas).