Coal shipments at two Wisconsin, Minnesota ports dropped sharply in 2019, wind cargoes set record

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Wisconsin Public Radio:A record amount of cargo containing components used for generating wind power moved through the Twin Ports during the 2019 shipping season. The surge in wind traffic comes as Duluth-Superior handled the lowest amount of coal in more than three decades.Around 8 million tons of coal moved through the Twin Ports last year, marking the lowest volume Duluth-Superior has seen since 1985. Jayson Hron, spokesperson for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, said the decline comes as demand for renewable energy sent a record 306,000 freight tons of wind turbines and other components through the port.“It’s becoming more competitive in the power generation price spectrum, and so it’s just making it a more viable, higher demand way of producing energy and power for our country,” said Hron.The cost of renewables like wind and solar have declined in recent years. In addition, natural gas prices are lower than coal as production has reached near record levels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The agency found utility providers have announced retirement of more than 546 coal-fired plants in the last decade that produce around 102,000 megawatts of power.The transition is something people would not have thought possible until recently, said Greg Nemet, a public affairs professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who researches energy and policy. “We’re seeing plants that were built in the ’80s — some even in later — that are being prematurely shut down just because it’s much cheaper to make electricity with natural gas and with solar, even when you have to build new plants,” said Nemet.“It’s really a competition between coal, natural gas, and renewables. Over the last 10 years, natural gas especially has been the winner. In the last five years, renewables have really been the winner,” said Nemet. “Coal really can’t compete with either of those.”[Danielle Kaeding]More: Coal shipping in Twin Ports drops to lowest level in decades while wind cargo surges Coal shipments at two Wisconsin, Minnesota ports dropped sharply in 2019, wind cargoes set recordlast_img read more