Renewable power generation surpassed coal in 2022

Inspenet, April 4, 2023

In 2022, power generation from renewable sources—wind, solar, hydro, biomass, and geothermal—overtook coal-fired generation for the first time in the US electric power sector.

Renewable generation also surpassed nuclear for the first time in 2021 and continued to supply more electricity than nuclear last year.

Natural gas continued to be the largest source of US electricity generation, rising from a 37% share of US generation in 2021 to 39% in 2022.

The share of nuclear generation decreased from 20% in 2021 to 19% in 2022, following the decommissioning of the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in May 2022. The combined share of wind and solar generation increased from 12% in 2021 to 14% last year. For its part, hydroelectric generation remained unchanged, at 6%, in 2022. The biomass and geothermal percentages remained unchanged, below 1%. The growth in wind and solar generation capacity drove the increase in generation in this segment.

Utility-scale solar capacity in the US electric power sector increased from 61 gigawatts (GW) in 2021 to 71 GW in 2022, according to data from the Electricity Power Monthly report. Wind capacity grew from 133 GW in 2021 to 141 GW in 2022. Last year, the US power sector produced 4.09 billion megawatt hours (MWh) of electrical power.

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