Latest EIA data reveal: In April, U.S. wind produced more electricity than coal while solar + wind surpassed nuclear power

Solar continues to be fastest-growing source of electrical generation - now over 7%

Image: PixabayImage: Pixabay

According to a review by the SUN DAY Campaign of data just released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), wind produced more electricity than coal in April while wind plus solar combined out-produced nuclear power. Electrical generation by wind and solar also out-produced coal and nearly tied nuclear power during the first four months of 2023. 

The latest issue of EIA's "Electric Power Monthly" report (with data through April 30, 2023) reveals that in the first third of this year, electrical generation by solar (including small-scale distributed systems) grew by 10.24%, compared to the same period in 2022 - faster than any other energy source. This was driven in large part by growth in "estimated" small-scale (e.g., rooftop) solar PV whose output increased by 24.88% and accounted for nearly a third (32.33%) of total solar production.

The mix of utility-scale and small-scale solar PV plus utility-scale solar thermal provided 5.05% of the nation's electrical output during the first four months of 2023. 

Simultaneously, electrical generation by wind increased by 1.97% compared to the same period a year ago and provided more than one-eighth (12.85%) of total U.S. electrical generation. Wind and solar together provided 17.91% - or over one-sixth - of the nation's electrical output in the first third of 2023. That was more than coal's share (14.98%) and close to that of nuclear power (19.17%).

The full complement of renewable energy sources (i.e., including biomass, geothermal, and hydropower) accounted for over a quarter (25.73%) of the nation's electrical generation - up from 25.35% a year earlier notwithstanding a sharp drop in hydropower output (down 14.04%). 

By comparison, electrical generation by coal plummeted by 28.40% while nuclear power's output was essentially unchanged - expanding by just 0.05%. Natural gas, however, did grow by 9.95%. 

EIA's data for renewable sources for just the month of April is even more striking. Total solar electrical generation increased by 15.58%, led by a 26.73% expansion in estimated small-scale solar PV. Solar's share of the nation's electric mix climbed to 7.11% while solar and wind together accounted for over a fifth of the nation's electricity - 21.05%.  The combination of all renewables provided 28.49% of U.S. electrical generation.

Moreover, during April, the nation's wind turbines alone produced more electricity (42,848 gigawatt-hours or GWh) than did coal (39,880-GWh). In fact, for the month, the mix of solar and wind generated 62.18% more electricity than coal. They also out-produced nuclear power by 14.47%. 

"In what appears to be a new milestone, wind is now out-producing coal while the mix of solar and wind is generating more electricity than nuclear power," noted the SUN DAY Campaign's executive director Ken Bossong. "The mix of all renewables continues to set new records and will very possibly surpass 25% for the year."    

SUN DAY Campaign
Press Office
SUN Day Campaign, wind, solar, nuclear, surpass, coal, fossil, renewable energy, USA, electricity, producer

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