According to the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Short-Term Energy Outlook, increasing electricity generation in the US primarily from wind and solar will reduce generation from coal and natural gas plants in 2023 and 2024.
The EIA forecasts that solar and wind, including new projects coming online this year, will account for 16% of total generation in 2023, up from 14% last year and 8% in 2018.
In contrast, the EIA’s projected share of electricity generation from coal decreases from 20% in 2022 to 18% in 2023 and 17% in 2024. The projected share of natural gas decreases from 39% to 38% in 2023 and to 37%. in 2024.
Solar and wind have grown rapidly over the past five years. The US power sector operated about 74 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV capacity at the end of 2022 – three times what it was at the end of 2017. US wind power has grown by more than 60% since 2017 to about 143 GW of capacity.
Thanks to falling construction costs and tax credits, solar capacity is expected to grow another 63 GW (84%) by the end of 2024. For example, the EIA predicts that the share of solar power generation will increase from 3% of US power generation in 2022 to 5% in 2023 and 6% in 2024.
Much of the growth in solar capacity is occurring in Texas and California, where natural gas has been the main source of electricity.
Projected wind power growth is around 12 GW of new planned capacity over the next two years. The forecast share of wind generation in 2023 remains relatively similar to 2022 at an average of 11% and then rises to 12% in 2024.
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Photo: “Three Pigeons on a Roof” by Dunnock_D is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
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