New York (CNN Business)America’s coal industry has already been left in the dust by natural gas. Now it’s under immense pressure from the renewable energy boom.
The renewable energy sector had slightly more installed capacity than coal in April, according to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission report.
That means US power plants can produce more energy from clean sources than coal for the first time in history, according to the SUN DAY Campaign, a nonprofit research group supporting sustainable energy. The breakthrough reflects the plunging cost of solar and wind as well as heightened environmental concern about coal.
“Coal has no technology path,” said Jeff McDermott, managing partner at Greentech Capital Advisors, a boutique investment bank focused on clean energy. “It’s got nowhere to go but extinction.”
The clean energy revolution is on the verge of a tipping point.
Also in April, the renewable energy sector was projected to have generated more electricity than coal, according to a separate report published by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. That transition was partially driven by seasonal issues.
At the same time, America has drastically cut back on its appetite for coal. Since peaking in 2008, US coal consumption has plunged 39% to the lowest level in 40 years, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Continue reading “America’s renewable energy capacity is now greater than coal”