US renewables produced more electricity than coal or nuclear in 2020 for the first time


Renewables produced more electricity than coal or nuclear power in the United States last year for the first time in history, according to a new report from the Energy information administration. With surges in wind, solar and hydroelectric power, the renewable energy industry produced 21% of all electricity production in the United States last year, a massive increase from the previous decade.

Over the past year, the United States has experienced record growth in renewable energy production, by adding 26 gigawatts generation capacity in 2020 alone, 80% more than in 2019. Combined with the previous infrastructure, it brought total renewable energy production to 170 gigawatts, ahead of both the nuclear and coal by a few percent (20% and 19% of total energy production, respectively).

Energy production statistics for 2020. Image credit: EIA

This now shifts renewables to the second largest producer of electricity, although they still lag behind natural gas by a large margin of 19%. However, between renewables and nuclear, 41% of US electricity production is now low-carbon or carbon-free.

While the trajectory is incredibly promising, the EIA still expects coal production to increase as natural gas becomes more expensive. However, renewables are expected to continue to grow rapidly, with production estimated at 10% more in 2022.

[H/T: Common Dreams]

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