Wind and solar produce more electricity than nuclear for the first time in the US

For the first time ever, wind and solar produced 17.96% more electricity in the month of April than nuclear power plants. 

Further, electrical generation by clean energy – which included biomass, geothermal, and hydropower and was driven by strong solar and wind growth – accounted for almost 30% of total US electrical generation in the month of April, according to a SUN DAY Campaign analysis of newly released US Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. 

And from the period between January and April 2022, clean energy accounted for more than 25% of electricity in the US.

The latest issue of the EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” report, with data through April 30, 2022, also reflects that solar (including rooftop) saw a year-over-year percentage change growth of 28.9%, while wind grew year-over-year by 24.2%. Combined, solar and wind grew by 25.4% and accounted for more than one-sixth (16.6%) of US electrical generation (wind at 12.2%, solar at 4.4%). The actual figures are measured in net generation, thousand megawatt hours, and can be seen here.

Hydropower increased by 9.99% during the first four months of 2022, but wind alone provided 70.89% more electricity than did hydropower.

And when it came to fossil fuels, renewables outpaced coal and nuclear by 26.13% and 37.8%, respectively, in the first third of 2022. In fact, electrical generation by coal declined by 3.9% compared to the same period in 2021, while nuclear dropped by 1.8%.

SUN DAY Campaign’s executive director Ken Bossong said:

Notwithstanding headwinds such as the Covid pandemic, grid access problems, and disruptions in global supply chains, solar and wind remain on a roll.

Moreover, by surpassing nuclear power by ever greater margins, they illustrate the foolishness of trying to revive the soon-to-retire Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in California and the just-retired Palisades reactor in Michigan rather than focusing on accelerating renewables’ growth.

Photo: Kindel Media on Pexels.com


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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at michelle@9to5mac.com. Check out her personal blog.