US Renewable Energy Sources Generate More Electricity Than Coal: Report

According to FERC, solar energy now accounts for 6.6% of all installed utility-scale generating capacity, while wind energy now accounts for 11.5%.

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The US Energy Information Administration and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ( FERC) have provided data showing that renewable energy sources are currently producing more electricity and have a larger capacity than coal in the US.

In the first two months of 2023, electrical generation from solar (including small-scale solar PV such as rooftop) increased by 6.7% compared to the same two-month period in 2022, faster than electrical generation from any other energy source, according to the most recent issue of the US Energy Information Administration’s “Electric Power Monthly” report, which contains data through February 28.

An increase in “estimated” small-scale solar PV, whose output increased by 23.6% and accounted for 32.5% of the total solar production, had a significant impact on this.

3.9% of the US’s electrical output was produced by a combination of utility-scale and small-scale solar PV and utility-scale solar thermal.

At the same time, 12.2% of all electrical generation was generated by wind, an increase of 6.6% from the same time last year. In the first two months of 2023, wind and solar together generated 16.1% of the nation’s electricity; in contrast, coal’s share of the nation’s electricity generation decreased by 32.7% to 16.0%.

When the total amount of generation from all renewable energy sources (including biomass, geothermal, and hydropower) is taken into account, renewables account for almost a quarter (24.1%) of it and outperform coal by a factor of 50.8%.

The combined electrical output from renewable sources also outperformed nuclear power by 21.9%.Here is what the most recent data from FERC, which also includes data for January and February 2023, shows.

According to FERC, solar energy now accounts for 6.6% of all installed utility-scale generating capacity, while wind energy now accounts for 11.5%.

Wind and solar power make up 18.1% of the installed generating capacity in the US. However, coal’s share has decreased over time and now makes up just 17.1% of the total. Furthermore, the combination of all renewable energy sources currently makes up 27.6% of the US’s generating capacity and seems to be headed for a rapid growth trajectory over the next three years.

FERC anticipates 17,690 megawatts (MW) of “high probability” net wind capacity additions and 77,791 MW of “high probability” solar capacity additions between now and February 2026. Additionally, according to FERC, there could be up to 66,322 MW of wind and 213,969 MW of solar in the next three years.

On the other hand, it doesn’t forecast any new coal capacity additions and instead speculates that installed coal capacity may decrease by 28,507 MW. While nuclear power may see a decline of 123 MW, the net “high probability” capacities of oil and natural gas are also expected to decline by 1,572 MW and 574 MW, respectively.

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