As well as posting here, I have a couple of articles in the Conversation about the end of the coal era (I’ll give links in a subsequent post, if I get time). In all cases, I’m getting lots of people saying that the reduction in coal use in is entirely/overwhelmingly due to low gas prices caused by the rise of shale gas. So, I thought it was time for a post on the subject. I want to make three points
(1) This claim is presented in global terms, but it’s really specific to the US. There is no global market for gas, and the expansion of fracking is not global (it’s big in the US and in Queensland, but not many other places).
(2) The claim is out of date as applied to the US. New electricity generation capacity there is now dominated by renewables (still true even after capacity factors are taken into account, I think)
(3) The continuing low price of gas (like that for coal and oil) is being drive, in large measure, by competition from renewables
I also want to talk about different views on the role of gas in the decarbonization process, but I’ll leave that for another time.