Coal burning has existed for centuries, and its use as a fuel has been recorded since the 1100s. It powered the Industrial Revolution, changing the course of first Britain, and then the world, in the process. In the US, the first coal-fired power plant – Pearl Street Station – opened on the shores of the lower East River in New York City in September 1882. Shortly thereafter, coal became the staplediet for power plants across the world. Today, coal is used to produce nearly 40% of the world’s electricity. However, burning coal is one of the most harmful practices on the planet.