According to an analysis by the SUN DAY Campaign, three new reports released this week by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) all point to the same conclusion: renewable energy sources, led by solar and wind, continue to rapidly expand their share of the nation’s energy production and electricity generation.
“Monthly Energy Review” report:
(with data through April 30, 2022)
During the first third of 2022, renewable energy sources (i.e., biofuels, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) accounted for 13.82% of total U.S. energy production for electricity, transportation, heating, feedstocks, and other needs compared to 12.85% a year earlier. Renewable energy output for the first four months of 2022 was 14.03% higher than for the same period in 2021.
Renewables also accounted for 13.14% of domestic energy consumption up from 12.21% a year earlier. The use of solar energy rose by 27.57% while that of wind increased by 24.25%. Consumption of biofuels expanded by 9.74%.
“Electric Power Monthly” report:
(with data through May 31, 2022)
For the first five months of 2022, solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources provided 25.7% of U.S. electricity – more than either coal or nuclear power and up from 22.9% a year earlier. Solar and wind increased by 27.2% and 24.4% respectively, hydropower expanded by 9.0%, and geothermal grew by 1.4%. Biomass and wood dropped by 4.16%.
In May alone, electrical generation by renewable sources increased by 16.61% compared to May 2021 and accounted for 26.58% of total generation compared to 24.61% a year earlier. All renewables combined provided nearly 50% more electricity than either coal or nuclear power in May. The mix of just solar and wind produced more electricity than coal and nearly tied nuclear power.
“Electricity Monthly Update” report:
(with analyses of solar and battery storage in 2021 vs. 2020)
EIA reports that U.S shipments of solar photovoltaic modules increased by 21% to a record 26.3 million peak kilowatts in 2021 up from 21.8 million peak kW in 2020. The U.S. added 13.2-GW of utility-scale capacity, a record high and 25% more than 2020 capacity additions (10.6-GW). Small-scale solar capacity installations increased by 5.4-GW in 2021, up 23% from 2020 installations (4.4-GW).
In addition, battery storage capacity more than tripled in 2021, from 1,438 megawatts (MW) in 2020 to 4,631-MW in 2021. Over 93% of the battery capacity that went online in 2021 was co-located with solar and is reflective of the continued industry-wide growth of paired renewable and storage capacity.
“Each new EIA study seems to draw the same conclusion – renewables are on a roll,” noted the SUN DAY Campaign’s executive director Ken Bossong. “Moreover, the rate at which they are expanding their share of the nation’s energy production and electrical generation appears to be accelerating.”
This article was written by Ken Bossong of “The SUN DAY Campaign,” non-profit research and educational organization founded in 1992 to support a rapid transition to 100% reliance on sustainable energy technologies as a cost-effective alternative to nuclear power and fossil fuels and as a solution to climate change.