Renewables are likely to provide 25% of U.S. electricity in 2023



Renewable energy sources accounted for nearly one-quarter of the nation’s electrical generation in the first 10 months of 2022, this according to a review of EIA data by the SUN DAY Campaign.

The final issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” report series published in 2022 (with data through October 31) reveals that during the first 10 months of 2022, renewable energy sources (including residential solar systems) increased their electrical output by 14.26% compared to the same period a year earlier. By comparison, electrical generation by all energy sources combined grew by just 3.14%.

Year-to-date, renewables have provided 22.60% of total U.S. electrical generation compared to 20.40% a year earlier. Accordingly, they are on track to reach or surpass EIA’s forecast of renewables providing 22% of U.S. electricity in calendar year 2022.

Output by solar alone increased by 26.23% and its share of total U.S. electrical generation year-to-date (YTD) surpassed 5.0%, providing 5.05% through the end of October. For perspective, solar’s YTD share first reached 1.0% in March 2016. Since then, solar’s monthly generation has increased almost six-fold. The trend seems likely to continue — in October 2022 alone, solar’s output was 31.68% greater than a year earlier, a rate of growth that strongly eclipsed that of every other energy source.

Further, for the 10-month period, electrical generation by wind expanded by 16.86% and provided almost a tenth (9.80%) of total electrical generation. In addition, generation by hydropower grew 6.13% and accounted for 6.14% of the total. Electrical output by geothermal as well as wood and wood-derived fuels also increased by 6.45% and 0.16% respectively. Only generation by “other biomass” fell — by 4.85%.

Taken together, during the first 10 months of 2022, renewable energy sources comfortably out-produced both coal and nuclear power by 16.62% and 27.39% respectively. However, natural gas continues to dominate with a 39.40% share of total generation.

“As we begin 2023, it seems very likely that renewables will provide nearly a quarter — if not more — of the nation’s electricity during the coming year,” noted the SUN DAY Campaign’s executive director Ken Bossong. “And it is entirely possible that the combination of just wind and solar will outpace nuclear power and maybe even that of coal during the next twelve months.”