For the first time ever, electricity produced by sustainable wind and utility scale solar surpassed that generated by nuclear power plants in April of this year. This statistic highlights the sustained national effort to build more renewable energy capacity for our electric grid. To note, utility scale wind production increased 27.7% over April 2021, and utility scale solar rose almost 25%– impressive figures! Capacity for clean energy production (wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, tidal, biomass) continues to grow and will represent more than 50% of total energy produced at some point in the coming years.
Will green energy just rocket past fossil fuels in U.S. energy production? There are some nuances to the numbers.
Consider- the U.S. consumes the least amount of energy during April and October. The reason is the more moderate temperature during those months alleviates the need for heating or air-conditioning, two power hungry methods of comfort. The reduced demand in April and October is a time when many fossil and nuclear power plants go down for updates or maintenance, which reduces overall production numbers. In addition, April tends to be a particularly windy month, and this spring was windier than most, which obviously helps boost wind-based electric production. For some context- total U.S. energy consumption was about 20% lower in April 2022 than in January of 2022- there is simply more energy demand in the thick of winter than in the middle of spring.
Nuclear power plants (which are carbon-neutral), have reliably produced about 20% of America’s electricity. In April that number dropped to 18% while wind and solar combined stood at just under 20%.
When all U.S. carbon-neutral energy sources are added together (a figure that includes nuclear), almost 46% of U.S. electricity in April came from sources that don’t contribute greenhouse gases to the environment. For a little global context, wind and solar now generate more electricity worldwide than does nuclear. It was just in 2000 when all renewable power generation surpassed nuclear, so it is a big milestone for wind and solar to generate more electricity on their own. See the chart below for a visual on this trend.
It is amazing to see the transformation towards renewable energy during the last ten-fifteen years. And we may be witnessing the Rise of the Renewables!
Enjoy the article below for more about our sources of energy. What are your thoughts on energy supply and consumption in the country or around the world? I look forward to hearing from you!
~ Brian Kasal- The Leadership Matrix
P.S.- Did you see my last Leadership Matrix post? Some Relief on the Supply-Chain Front
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