A report by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reveals that the renewable energy capacity of the United States has overtaken coal for the very first time. The share of renewable energy in the total available installed capacity is at 21.56 percent compared to coal’s 21.55 percent. It’s only a marginal lead but it’s a significant milestone nonetheless.
This was made possible by the addition of new wind, solar, and hydro capacity in the first four months of this year. That’s what pushed the share of renewable energy in the total installed capacity of 21.56 percent. On the other hand, coal’s share has actually dropped from 23.04 percent last year to 21.55 percent.
The commission does find that despite the marginal difference at this point in time, this gap is going to increase in the following months. So the share of renewables in the overall energy mix is set to increase later this year.
That’s because the United States has been adding about one percentage point to its renewable energy capacity every year on average. It also predicts that by 2022, renewable will account for almost a quarter of the country’s total available installed capacity. Coal consumption continues to decline, dropping 39 percent from its record high in 2008 to the lowest level in four decades.