Last year, the EPA released its Clean Power Plan, which aimed to decrease the use of coal and increase the use of natural gas and renewables. The goal was to have coal provide about 27% of generation while natural gas provided about 33% by the year 2030, turning the tables on the coal vs. natural gas competition for once.
Indeed, the shift is actually coming at a faster pace than the EPA predicted. Coal has decreased by 5% (from 39% to 34%) since 2014, and by a whole 16% since 2005, without a doubt making this the largest decline we've seen in a while. On the other hand, natural gas, which has been kept afloat by the shale gas boom, produced just as much of our electricity has coal. If this continues, our energy future will look bright; perhaps our 2030 goal will come much sooner than we think.
And even as this transition occurs — an increase in natural gas and renewables, lowering coal usage — the United States seems to be neither using much more electricity nor paying more for it. If this continues perhaps our 2030 goal will come much sooner than we think.