Renewable Energy Dominated US’ Electricity Mix, Outpacing Coal in 2022
The United States generated 4,090 million MWh of electricity in 2022
March 31, 2023
Renewable energy sources, including wind, solar, hydro, biomass, and geothermal, exceeded coal-fired power generation in the sector for the first time in 2022 in the U.S., a recent report by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) found.
Renewable energy production surpassed nuclear energy generation in 2021 and 2022.
The electricity sector in the United States generated 4,090 million MWh of power in 2022.
As per the latest report, natural gas remained the primary source of electricity generation in the U.S., with its share increasing from 37% in 2021 to 39% in 2022.
Meanwhile, coal-fired power generation decreased from 23% in 2021 to 20% in 2022 due to plant retirements and reduced usage.
Nuclear power’s share of electricity generation decreased from 20% in 2021 to 19% in 2022 with the closure of the Palisades nuclear power plant last May.
The combined share of wind and solar power increased from 12% in 2021 to 14% in 2022. The share of hydropower generation remained the same at 6%, while biomass and geothermal sources maintained their share at less than 1%.
Utility-scale solar capacity increased from 61 GW in 2021 to 71 GW in 2022, while wind capacity grew from 133 GW in 2021 to 141 GW in 2022.
Texas emerged as the top producer of wind energy last year, accounting for 26% of the total U.S. wind generation.
Iowa (10%) and Oklahoma (9%) followed closely behind. One of the largest wind farms in the country, with a capacity of almost 1 GW, started operations in Oklahoma in 2022.
Meanwhile, California ranked first in utility-scale solar generation in 2022, producing 26% of the nation’s utility-scale solar electricity.
Texas came in second, accounting for 16% of the total solar generation, followed by North Carolina (8%). Texas also saw several of the largest solar plants built in the U.S. in the last three years, including the 275 MW Noble solar plant, which commenced operations in 2022.
Earlier this month, EIA said around 82% of the new utility-scale generating capacity planned to come online in the U.S. in 2023 would comprise wind, solar, and battery storage.
Nearly 12.5 GW of new utility-scale solar capacity came online in the U.S. in 2021, taking the cumulative capacity to 51.34 GW across 1,131 projects.