Written by Matt Egan
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.
The milestones come despite President Donald Trump’s promise to prop up the coal industry by cutting environmental rules. Analysts say that’s because the shift toward renewables is being driven more by economics than regulation.
“The government can tap on the brakes or accelerate this movement — but this progress will continue moving forward,” said Matthew Hoza, senior energy analyst at consulting firm BTU Analytics. “For the most part, the public is calling for renewables.”
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