In 2022, generation from renewable sources such as wind, solar, hydro, biomass and geothermal surpassed coal-fired generation in the U.S. electric power sector for the first time. That’s according to new data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Electricity Power Monthly.
The shift continues to be driven by solar and wind capacity additions. Utility-scale solar capacity in the U.S. increased from 61 GW in 2021 to 71 GW in 2022, according to EIA. Wind capacity grew from 133 GW in 2021 to 141 GW in 2022. The combined wind and solar share of total generation increased from 12% in 2021 to 14% in 2022.
Hydropower generation remained unchanged, at 6%, in 2022. Shares of biomass and geothermal sources remained unchanged, at less than 1%.
In 2022, EIA reports California ranked first in utility-scale solar generation, producing 26% of the country’s share. Texas was the second-largest producing state (16%), followed by North Carolina (8%). Several of the largest solar plants built in the United States in the last three years are located in Texas, including the 275 MW Noble solar plant, which started operations in 2022.
Texas led the U.S. in wind power, accounting for 26% of total U.S. wind generation in 2022. The Lonestar State was followed by Iowa (10%) and Oklahoma (9%).
According to EIA, the share of generation from coal declined from 23% in 2021 to 20% in 2022, as some coal-fired plants retired and other operating plants were used less.
Generation from renewables passed nuclear for the first time in 2021 and continued to provide more electricity than nuclear in 2022. The share of nuclear generation decreased from 20% in 2021 to 19% in 2022, following the Palisades nuclear power plant’s retirement in May 2022.
Natural gas remains the largest source of U.S. electricity generation, increasing from a 37% share of U.S. generation in 2021 to 39% in 2022, according to EIA data.
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