U.S. power generation from renewables was higher than coal in April for the first time, new Energy Information Administration data shows.
Why it matters: It's a milestone that shows the sweeping changes underway in the country's electricity sector.
By the numbers: Renewables provided 23% of total generation in April while coal, which has been steadily losing market share to gas and renewables for years, slipped to 20%.
But, but, but: It's likely to flip back soon. Overall power demand is lowest in the spring and fall when heating and cooling demand are relatively low.
- "[G]eneration from ... gas, coal, and nuclear is often at its lowest point during these months as some generators undergo maintenance," EIA said.
- EIA projects that on an annual basis, coal will still generate more than renewables this year and next year.
The bottom line: Absent some unlikely reversal of current trends, April's dynamic will become the norm in the years ahead.
- The central scenario in EIA's Annual Energy Outlook sees renewables overtaking coal for good on an annual basis in the mid-2020s.
- Yes, but: Don't forget they've underestimated renewables' growth in the past.