Renewables Surpassed Coal As The US’s Main Source Of Electricity In 2022
(CTN NEWS) – As per the recent announcement by the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Monday, the electricity generated from renewable sources surpassed coal in the United States for the first time in 2022.
Renewables also surpassed nuclear generation in 2022
In 2022, renewable energy sources surpassed nuclear power generation again, following a similar trend observed in the previous year.
The upsurge in renewable energy can be attributed to the remarkable progress in wind and solar power, which collectively accounted for a substantial portion of the electricity generated within the country in 2022, amounting to 14%.
Hydropower made a notable contribution of 6% to the overall energy mix, while biomass and geothermal sources collectively generated a relatively modest amount of less than 1%.
The Brown University associate provost for sustainability and professor of ecology Stephen Porder said, “I’m happy to see we’ve crossed that threshold, but that is only a step in what has to be an extremely rapid and much cheaper trip.”
According to recent data, California has emerged as the leading producer of utility-scale solar electricity in the United States, accounting for 26% of the national output.
Texas and North Carolina follow closely behind, with 16% and 8% of the total production, respectively.
Texas had the highest wind generation in the United States, contributing to 26% of the total wind energy produced, followed by Iowa at 10% and Oklahoma at 9%.
According to Gregory Wetstone, the President and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy, the significant expansion in this sector is primarily attributed to economic factors.
Over the past decade, the levelized cost of wind energy declined by 70 percent
In the last ten years, there has been a significant reduction in the levelized cost of wind energy by 70 percent and an even more remarkable reduction of 90 percent in the levelized cost of solar power.
In many parts of the nation, Wetstone continued, “renewable energy is now the most cost-effective source of new electricity.”
According to the Energy Information Administration’s projections, the proportion of wind energy in the United States’ electricity generation mix is expected to rise from 11% to 12% between 2022 and 2023.
Additionally, the share of solar energy is anticipated to increase from 4% to 5% during the same period. The proportion of natural gas in the energy mix is anticipated to persist at 39% between 2022 and 2023.
Conversely, coal is predicted to experience a decline from 20% in the previous year to 17% in the current year.
According to Porder, a scholar from Brown University, wind and solar energy are expected to play a pivotal role in the expansion of renewable energy.
However, the feasibility of these sources being able to solely provide the entire electricity demand of the United States without any backup is a subject of discussion among engineers.
As the share of renewable energy sources supplying the energy infrastructure rises, he said, there will be a lot of choices to make.
According to Porder, engineers and policy-makers face significant challenges due to the fact that the current energy grids were designed to distribute power from a uniform source.
Sources of renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, generate electricity intermittently.
According to his statement, mitigating these challenges would require implementing battery storage, long-distance transmission, and other necessary measures.
EIA report found the country remains heavily reliant on the burning of climate-changing fossil fuels
According to the EIA report, the nation continues to depend heavily on the combustion of fossil fuels that contribute to climate change.
In 2022, the proportion of coal-fired generation in the electric sector decreased to 20% from its previous share of 23% in 2021.
In 2022, natural gas emerged as the primary source of electricity in the United States, accounting for 39% of the total electricity generated, as compared to 37% in the preceding year.
Melissa Lott, director of research for the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, said that when you look at the statistics, natural gas has been a significant driver for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from electricity because it has been mainly replacing coal-fired power plants.
According to Lott, it is imperative to swiftly reduce emissions instead of allowing them to persistently increase in the future.
According to Lott, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) impacted the number of renewable energy projects that went online in 2022, and it is anticipated to have a “tremendous” effect on accelerating clean energy projects.
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