So far, 2022 has been a successful year for renewable energy in the United States.
In its first nine months, renewable energy sources generated more electricity than coal and nuclear combined, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) analyzed by the SUN DAY Campaign.
According to Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign, renewable energy sources easily outproduced coal and nuclear power during the first three-quarters of 2022 by 15.52% and 28.25%, respectively. In reality, over the previous half-decade, the mix of renewables has surpassed coal and nuclear to take second place among electrical-producing sources, moving them from fourth to second.
The research was based on the EIA’s Electric Power Monthly report, which was released the day before Thanksgiving and included data up to September 30. It was discovered that during the first nine months of 2022, a total combination of renewable energy sources—including wind, utility- and small-scale solar, hydropower, geothermal, and biomass—generated 22.66 percent of the country’s electricity. For the first nine months of 2021, this was up from 20.33 percent.
In general, renewable energy sources performed 15.44% better than they did the year before. Additionally, the report provided a breakdown by electricity source:
- Wind increased by 18.64 percent, generating nearly 10 percent of all electricity.
- Solar increased by 25.68 percent and accounted for 5.01 percent of the total electricity mix.
- Hydroelectric power increased by 7.98 percent and made up 6.29 percent of the total.
- Geothermal grew by 6.95 percent.
- Biomass decreased by 1.12 percent.
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The results follow the EIA’s prediction that renewable energy will supply 22% of electricity until the end of 2022 and 24% of electricity in 2023, primarily due to an increase in wind and solar capacity.
Since wind, hydropower, and wind generation all decreased in relation to September of 2021 and since renewable output for this September was only up by 1.45% compared to the same month last year, Bossong said the September data suggested that renewable output could fall to at or below that prediction by the end of the year.
According to Bossong, the EIA has been predicting for some time that renewable energy sources will account for 22% of U.S. electricity generation in 2022, up from 20% a year earlier. Although they are currently ahead of that mark, a slowdown in wind and hydropower generation over the final quarter of this year might cause renewables to fall short of that goal while still exceeding their record output from 2021.
According to E&E News, if they do achieve the 22 percent forecast, it will be higher than the 20 percent forecast for coal and the 19 percent forecast for nuclear. In the United States, the last time renewable energy topped coal was in 2020, a year that was notable for the decline in demand brought on by the coronavirus lockdowns.
Renewable energy experts now have faith that the investments made under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will continue to increase capacity in the future.
According to Steve Cicala, an economics professor at Tufts University, the essential thing is that it keeps expanding and that we install more capacity and produce more energy from renewable sources. This is significant since it will result in less generation using fossil fuels.