Solar, wind to lead US power generation growth for the next 2 years


The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that solar and wind will lead US power generation growth for the next two years in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook.

As a result of new solar projects coming online in 2024, the EIA forecasts that US solar power generation will grow 75% from 163 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) in 2023 to 286 billion kWh in 2025.

The EIA also expects wind power generation to grow 11% from 430 billion kWh in 2023 to 476 billion kWh in 2025.

In 2023, the US electric power sector produced 4,017 billion kWh of power. Renewable sources – wind, solar, hydro, biomass, and geothermal – accounted for 22% of generation, or 874 billion kWh, last year. Annual renewable power generation surpassed nuclear for the first time in 2021 and coal for the first time in 2022.

The EIA notes that wind and solar developers often bring their projects online at the end of the calendar year, so that tends to affect generation growth trends for the following year.

Solar is the fastest-growing renewable source because of the larger capacity additions and favorable Inflation Reduction Act tax credits. Planned solar projects increase solar capacity operated by the electric power sector 38% from 95 gigawatts (GW) at the end of 2023 to 131 GW by the end of 2024.

The EIA expects wind capacity to stay relatively flat at 156 GW by the end of 2024, compared with 149 GW in December 2023.

In contrast, coal power generation will decline 18% from 665 billion kWh in 2023 to 548 billion kWh in 2025, natural gas will continue to be the largest source of US electricity generation, with about 1,700 billion kWh of annual generation in 2024 and 2025 – similar to 2023. Nuclear power generation will also stay relatively flat, rising from 776 billion kWh in 2023 to 797 billion kWh in 2025.

Read more: Good news – the world has a real chance of achieving its goal of tripling renewables by 2030

Photo: Duke Energy

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