2019 saw the United States consume more energy from renewable power sources than coal for the first time in over 130 years, according to the EIA. This is a result of continued growth of renewables like wind and solar and continued declines in the use of coal for electricity generation. Coal consumption fell 15% from 2018 to 2019, decreasing for the sixth consecutive year, while renewable consumption grew 1% from 2018 to 2019, up for the fourth year in a row.
In the 1880s, wood was the main source of energy and hydropower was the main source of renewable energy. Coal use for other industries began in the early 1800s and was used for electricity generation beginning in the 1880s. Today, about 90% of U.S. coal consumption is in the electric power sector.