Solar and Wind grew faster than Coal and Gas in the US – An unexpected turn in the market then nobody could predict. Over the past five years, electrical generation and storage by wind have increased by 80%, while solar is more than triple what it was in 2015. And it seems like 2020 has also not disappointed in this regard as far as wind and solar electricity are concerned.
A recent analysis from the Sun Day Campaign based on data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) as well as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) shows that solar and wind-generated electricity has increased by 35.1% in November 2020 compared to the same month a year earlier.
For the approximately 77% of Americans who believe that the U.S. should develop alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind power, rather than producing more fossil fuels, the latest issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” no doubt comes with promising news.
The report, which includes data through 30 November 2020, reveals that wind accounted for 8.2% of all electrical generation of the United States during the first nine months of 2020 while solar provided another 3.4%. That means that combined, the two grew by 16.2% in the previous year compared to natural gas which provided 40.6%.
“While electrical generation by solar and wind still trail that from natural gas, new renewable energy capacity additions are rapidly closing the gap,” stated Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the Sun Day Campaign. “And FERC projections for further increases by wind and solar are probably seriously underestimating their near-term growth as prices continue to fall and a far more sympathetic Biden Administration prepares to take office.”
Today, the United States gets almost all the energy it requires through domestic production, with net imports in 2018 accounting for less than 4% of the total U.S. energy supply.
So far renewable energy sources have produced 10.1% more electricity than coal through November 2020, with the electrical generation by coal 22.1% lower compared to a year earlier.
Renewable energy trumped the electrical generation by natural gas, with solar and wind increasing the electrical generation by 45,285 gigawatt-hours (GWh) versus the same period in 2019. On top of that, renewable energy sources produced 6.2% more electricity than even nuclear power.
“With a far more supportive Biden administration now directing national energy policy, renewably-generated electricity seems poised for rapid growth,” Bossong added. “While EIA foresees renewables providing 23% of U.S. electricity in 2022, the actual percentage could very well be significantly higher — perhaps 25% or more.”
That means that we can expect even greater news over the next three years, with FERC predicting that by October 2023, the share of natural gas from the total available installed generating capacity will decrease to 44.4% while wind will increase to 11% and solar to 6.5%. This would make it a combined 17.6%, compared to the present 13.3%.