Production and Use of Coal Have Dropped Steeply During the Coronavirus Pandemic
As electricity use is down across the country due to businesses being closed, all energy industries are seeing losses. But coal especially has taken a beating.
Last updated on Oct 8 , 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on American businesses, both big and small. As manufacturers shut down plants because of social distancing and smaller businesses shutter indefinitely, electricity use in general has declined steeply.
That drop in energy use has hit coal especially hard. One coal analyst said there was a drop of 35-40% between this year and last year.
Another analyst who has been studying coal trends for years said this decline was one of the worst he'd ever seen. “It doesn’t compare — we have seen some relatively severe downturns. But nothing this sudden and this severe,” Andrew Blumenfeld of IHS Markit told NPR.
Many coal mines have had to shut down or lay off workers. Others are facing bankruptcy.
Stockpiles of coal are piling up. Some have compared it to an oil glut.
Meanwhile, solar and wind power overtook coal in April, powering more electricity than coal for the first time in U.S. history.
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The coal industry was already struggling. Now it’s getting hammered by coronavirus
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