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A wind farm in Iowa. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Renewable energy production in the United States is set to overtake coal in 2020 for the first time, according to new projections from the Energy Information Administration.

Why it matters: Coal was historically the dominant source of electricity for the country, and renewable energy's rise comes despite the Trump administration’s attempts to revive the coal industry by pollution and coal-burning power plant regulations, per the New York Times.

The big picture, via Axios' Ben Geman: The inflection point shows how the pandemic is accelerating trends underway for years in U.S. power markets as natural gas and increasingly low-cost renewables shove aside coal, once the nation’s dominant electricity source.

By the numbers: Because the coronavirus pandemic has depressed electricity demand and natural gas prices, coal plants are expected to produce only 19% of the nation’s electricity, declining by around 25%.

  • The EIA projects that renewable energy will grow around 11% and that overall electricity generation will fall by 5% this year.

Yes, but: The agency expects coal consumption to rebound by 10% in 2021 because of stronger natural gas prices and increased electricity demand.

  • It also noted that the projections are subject to a high degree of uncertainty because of the pandemic.

The bottom line: The agency also expects America’s energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to decrease by 11%, the largest drop in at least 70 years, according to NYT.

Go deeper: Coronavirus accelerates coal's decline

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Aug 21, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Where U.S. fossil fuel companies are shedding jobs

Data: BW Research; Table: Axios Visuals

Various fossil fuel industries shed a combined 118,000 jobs in the March-July period, per a BW Research analysis.

Why it matters: It's a window onto the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the sector's workers.

Report: U.S. calls for UN-led Afghan peace talks

Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department in Washington, D.C., in February. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken proposed in a letter to President Ashraf Ghani steps including a UN-facilitated summit to revive stalled peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, Afghanistan's TOLOnews first reported Sunday.

Why it matters: Blinken expresses concern in the letter, also obtained by Western news outlets, of a potential "spring offensive by the Taliban" and that the "security situation will worsen and the Taliban could make rapid territorial gain" after an American military withdrawal, even with the continuation of U.S. financial aid.

Harry and Meghan accuse British royal family of racism

Photo: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via Reuters

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle delivered a devastating indictment of the U.K. royal family in their conservation with Oprah Winfrey: Both said unnamed relatives had expressed concern about what the skin tone of their baby would be. And they accused "the firm" of character assassination and "perpetuating falsehoods."

Why it matters: An institution that thrives on myth now faces harsh reality. The explosive two-hour interview gave an unprecedented, unsparing window into the monarchy: Harry said his father and brother "are trapped," and Markle revealed that the the misery of being a working royal drove her to thoughts of suicide.