Renewables will total 22 percent of U.S. electricity generation in 2022, says government
Renewable energy will comprise nearly a quarter of electricity generated in the U.S. this year, according to projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The number represents an increase from 2020 and 2021, both of which saw about 20 percent generation from renewables. The EIA further projected the proportion will increase to 24 percent renewables in 2023.
The EIA predicts much of the increase will be driven by a combination of new wind and solar proliferation, as well as further retirement of sources such as coal and nuclear power.
However, U.S. coal production, which already saw an increase in 2021, is projected to see another increase of 21 million short tons (MMst) in 2022. Consumption, meanwhile, is projected to decline slightly this year, from 546 MMst in 2021 to 541 in 2022.
At the regional grid level, the EIA found renewable generation grew for the Southwest Power Pool, which provides power to the central U.S., from 13 percent in 2013 to 40 percent in 2021, with a projected increase to 44 percent by 2022.
Texas’s self-contained grid, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, saw its renewables share nearly triple during the same period, from 10 percent in 2013 to about 32 percent this year. Much of both grids’ increased renewables share is the result of increased wind power, according to the EIA.
On the solar side, the U.S. added 13 gigawatts of utility-scale photovoltaic capacity last year and the additions are projected for 20 gigawatts this year, with 24 the following year. Overall, the agency projects 31 billion new kilowatt-hours of generation this year and 41 billion next year.
In the short term, the EIA projected continued uncertainty in U.S. energy as a result from the continued turmoil caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.
The projections come the same week President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes a wide range of tax credits for renewable energy projects after many of those projects had been threatened by inflation and supply chain issues.