Renewables outproduced coal by 15.5% in the US during first 3 quarters of 2022

Renewable energy provided almost 23% of electrical generation in the US during the first three quarters of 2022, according to new data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and reviewed by the SUN DAY Campaign.

EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” report, which contains data through September 30, reflects that in the first nine months of 2022, renewable energy sources, including rooftop solar, increased their electrical output by 15.44% compared to the same period a year earlier.

Year to date, renewables have provided 22.66% of total US electrical generation, compared to 20.33% a year earlier. 

For the nine-month period, electrical generation by wind increased by 18.64% and provided 9.75% of total electrical generation. Solar grew by 25.68% and provided 5.01% of electrical output in the US. In addition, generation by hydropower increased by 7.98% and accounted for 6.29% of the total. Geothermal also grew by 6.95%, while electrical generation attributed to the combination of wood and other biomass dropped by 1.12%. 

Taken together, during the first three-quarters of 2022, renewable energy sources comfortably outproduced both coal and nuclear by 15.52% and 28.25%, respectively. 

In fact, over the past half decade, the mix of renewables has moved from fourth into second place among electrical generating sources, bumping coal and nuclear down to third and fourth place.

However, EIA’s data also suggest that renewable energy’s strong growth this year may slow down during the last third of 2022.

In September alone, electrical generation by solar grew by 21% and geothermal increased by 5.1% compared to September 2021. On the other hand, generation by wind dropped by 6.81%, as did hydropower (down 1.14%) and biomass/wood (down 4.57%). Taken together, electrical output by renewables was just 1.45% higher than a year ago, and because electrical generation by all sources increased, renewables’ share in September was nearly unchanged from a year earlier – 19.18% vs. 19.14%.

Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign, said:

For some time now, EIA has been forecasting renewables to provide 22% of US electrical generation in 2022 – up from 20% a year earlier.

While they are presently ahead of that level, a slowdown in generation by wind and hydropower during the last quarter of this year could result in renewables falling short of that mark while still exceeding their 2021 record output.

Read more: White House announces $13B to modernize the US power grid

Photo: Pexels Free Photos


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Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at michelle@9to5mac.com. Check out her personal blog.