America’s renewable energy capacity has overtaken coal for the first time ever. According to a report by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the addition of new solar, wind and hydro capacity in the first four months of the year pushed renewable energy’s share of total available installed capacity to 21.56%. Coal’s share, meanwhile, has dropped to 21.55 percent, down from 23.04 percent last year.
While these figures represent a very marginal difference, additional findings from FERC suggest that the gap is likely to widen in the coming months. The report notes that the US has been adding, on average, one percentage point to its renewable energy capacity every year, and predicts that by 2022 the technology will account for nearly a quarter of America’s total available installed generating capacity. Meanwhile, the nation’s appetite for coal continues to decline, with consumption dropping 39 percent from its peak in 2008, to its lowest level in 40 years.