Renewables Are Fast Replacing Coal, Except in Rural America

NEWSROOM

U.S. utilities are moving to replace coal plants with renewable-energy sources, but the shift is happening more slowly at the cooperatives that serve much of rural America.

Electric cooperatives sourced 32% of their power from coal in 2019, according to industry data. By comparison, the U.S. as a whole got about 23% of its electricity from coal that year, a 42-year low, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Co-ops, which provide power to about 42 million Americans, primarily in the Midwest and West, have remained more reliant on coal than investor-owned utilities in part because they don’t have the same means or motivation to retire coal plants.

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