The US' coal-fired electricity generation in 2019 fell to its lowest level in 42 years, the country's Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a statement on Monday.
Electricity output from the US' coal-fired generation fell to 966,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh) in 2019, marking the lowest level since 1976.
This was also the largest year-over-year percentage decline in history at 16%, the EIA said.
The sharp decline was a result of increased electricity generation from natural gas-fired plants and wind turbines.
While natural gas-fired electricity generation reached an all-time record of nearly 1.6 million GWh in 2019, up 8% from 2018, electricity generation from wind turbines also set a new record by surpassing 300,000 GWh, up 10% from the year before, the EIA said.
"The increased availability of low-priced natural gas has been the biggest factor in decreasing coal-fired generation," the statement read.
"This factor has lowered average coal plant utilization rates and pushed some coal plants into early retirement," it added.
Another reason behind the decline in coal-fired electricity generation was retiring coal plants.
Coal-fired capacity in the US peaked at 318 GW in 2011, but fell to 229 GW by the end of 2019, according to the EIA.
"Although coal at US power plants has cost less than natural gas, for coal to be competitive its delivered cost must be at least 30% lower to make up for the differences in efficiency between a typical coal-fired plant and a typical natural gas-fired plant," the statement noted.
By Ovunc Kutlu