In the upcoming year, the United States could generate more electricity from wind and solar alone than from nuclear and coal, according to a new analysis of official data. This would be a significant step toward reducing the nation’s reliance on filthy energy.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently released a review that found that renewable sources overall, including solar, wind, biomass, and other sources, provided 22.6% of U.S. electricity over the first 10 months of 2022, exceeding the agency’s forecast for the entire year. This was the finding that was highlighted by the nonprofit SUN DAY Campaign.
The SUN DAY Campaign observed on Tuesday that, when looking at the first ten months of 2022 as a whole, “renewable energy sources comfortably out-produced both coal and nuclear power by 16.62% and 27.39% respectively.” However, with a 39.4% share of all generation, natural gas is still in the lead.
According to the most recent EIA data, the amount of power produced by solar energy alone increased by more than 26% in the first 10 months of 2016. According to the SUN DAY Campaign, “solar’s output was 31.68% more than a year earlier, a pace of increase that considerably surpassed that of every other energy source,” in just one month of October.
As 2023 begins, it “looks very possible that renewables will contribute roughly a quarter, if not more, of the nation’s electricity during the coming year,” according to Ken Bossong, the campaign’s executive director.
Additionally, Bossong noted that it’s completely likely that within the upcoming year, solely wind and solar power will surpass nuclear power and possibly even coal power.
The optimistic data is set against a larger backdrop of U.S. failures to properly increase the development of renewable energy and phase out the usage of fossil fuels, which has contributed to greenhouse gas emissions reaching record-breaking levels globally.
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According to the most recent official data, gas production, a significant source of very toxic methane pollution, certainly set a new yearly record in the United States last year. According to a recent report, the United States is presently pursuing the longest possible oil pipeline capacity.
The U.S. is rated as “insufficient” overall by The Climate Action Tracker (CAT), a website developed by a group of scientists to analyze nations’ emissions targets and progress. According to the website, the U.S. “needs substantial improvements in its climate policies and action in 2030 to be consistent with the 1.5 C temperature limit.”
On the plus side, CAT applauds the recent enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a measure that is intended to accelerate the development of the renewable energy infrastructure in the United States.
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While the IRA does focus primarily on clean technologies, CAT points out that it also makes a number of concessions to the fossil fuel sector, such as establishing minimum acreages of public lands for drilling leases. The pledge made by President Biden on his first day in office to prohibit new oil and gas drilling on federal lands is violated by these concessions.