Renewables provided nearly one-quarter of US electrical generation to August 2022

Renewable energy – solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower, biomass – provided almost a quarter of electrical generation in the US during the first two-thirds of 2022, according to data just released by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), which was reviewed by the SUN DAY Campaign.

The latest issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” report (with data through August 31, 2022) reflects that, year-to-date, renewables provided 23.3% of total US electrical generation, compared to 20.6% a year earlier. 

Further, in the first eight months of 2022, renewable energy sources (including small-scale solar) increased their electrical output by 17.5%, compared to the same period a year earlier.

For the eight-month period, electrical generation by wind increased by 22% and provided 10% of total electrical generation. Meanwhile, solar sources grew by 26.9% and provided 5% of US electrical output. In addition, generation by hydropower increased 10.5% and accounted for 6.7% of the total. Geothermal also grew by 0.7%, while electrical generation attributed to the combination of wood and other biomass dropped by 2.1%. 

Taken together, during the first two-thirds of 2022, renewable energy comfortably outproduced both coal and nuclear by 17.9% and 32.3%, respectively. In fact, over the past half-decade, renewables have moved from fourth into second place while relegating coal and nuclear to third and fourth place. 

Five years ago, coal’s share of US electrical generation was 30.3%, while that of nuclear power was 19.6%. Now, their shares have dropped to 19.8% and 17.6%, respectively, while clean energy’s share has expanded from 18.2% to 23.3%. Natural gas, however, has retained the lead (38.5%) among energy sources comprising the US electrical mix. 

“These latest statistics suggest that renewables may well be on track to surpass EIA’s forecast for renewables to provide 22% of US electrical generation in 2022 and 24% in 2023,” noted the SUN DAY Campaign’s executive director, Ken Bossong. “Bolstered by the Inflation Reduction Act, renewables’ share could easily surpass 25% by the end of next year.”

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