Solar and wind energy outproduced coal in Q1 2023

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The SUN DAY campaign surveyed data just released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and found that wind and solar combined will generate more electricity than coal in the first quarter of 2023, and virtually nuclear in March. alongside power generation.

The latest issue of EIA “Monthly electric energyThe report (data up to March 31, 2023) reveals a 7.8% increase in solar power (including small distributed systems) in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2022. became. This is largely due to the growth of ‘estimated’ small-scale (rooftop) solar PV, whose output increased 24.0% faster than any other energy source, almost a third of total solar PV production. (32.8%).

The combination of utility-scale solar PV and utility-scale solar thermal provided 4.4% of the country’s electricity output in the first three months of 2023.

At the same time, wind power increased by 5.3% year-on-year, accounting for one-eighth (12.5%) of total US electricity generation. Combined, wind and solar supplied 16.9% of his domestic electricity output in Q1 2023, or more than one-sixth.

By comparison, coal power generation plummeted by 28.6% to only 15.6% of total US power generation in the first quarter. In March alone, the country’s wind turbines produced about the same amount of electricity (44,355 GWh) as coal (49,863 GWh).

Nuclear output fell 0.6% in the first quarter, outpacing wind and solar combined. However, the combination of wind and solar in March alone effectively lined nuclear power at 62,734 GWh versus 62,820 GWh. Current growth rates for solar and wind power could eventually outpace nuclear power output for some or all of the year, the report said.

Renewables accounted for a quarter (24.9%) of total electricity generation in the first three months of the year, taking into account electricity generation from all renewable sources (including biomass, geothermal and hydro) . This is higher than its share in Q1 2022 (24.2%), despite lower production from hydro (down 15.5%), wood and biomass (down 6.2%) and geothermal (down 3.6%). expensive.

Therefore, the electricity generated by the full mix of renewable energy sources exceeded that from coal by 59.5%. Renewable power generation also exceeded nuclear power generation by 28.2%. Only natural gas, at 39.3% of the total, supplied more electricity than renewables.

“Renewables have outperformed coal and nuclear power for some time now, and wind and solar combined alone have already outperformed coal this year and are on the verge of overtaking nuclear,” he said. Ken Bosson, Secretary General of SUN DAY Campaign. “Renewables seem well positioned to supply more than a quarter of the country’s electricity generation in 2023.”

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