Wind and solar sources generated more power than nuclear plants in the U.S. for the first time this April, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
In April, clean energy sources, which include hydro, geothermal, wind and solar sources, accounted for nearly 30 percent of all electrical generation, topping nuclear power by almost 18 percent. Two thirds of that were solar and wind sources alone. The two types of generation saw a huge leap in adoption in 2021 and 2022.
“Wind and solar are breaking records around the world,” says Ember, a global energy think tank. “The process that will reshape the existing energy system has begun. Wind and solar provide a solution to the “trilemma” of achieving a sustainable, affordable and secure energy supply. This decade they need to be deployed at lightning speed.”
Growth in the renewable energy sector is booming, while in 2022, energy generation by coal and nuclear plants is inching downwards. 3.9 percent so far this year for coal, and 1.8 for nuclear power. In the same time, solar has gone up by 29 percent and wind by 24.2 percent. Natural gas, the only nonrenewable seeing substantial growth, only went up by less than 9 percent, less than hydropower, which went up 10 percent.
The U.S. has some catching up to do with other developed countries. The Paris Agreement’s net-zero by 2050 targets specifically that wind and solar sources need to make a fifth of all energy by only 2025 to be on track to reach 70 percent by 2050. Several European countries, including Germany, Spain, the U.K., the Netherlands, Sweden, and Iceland have already exceeded the first goal. Per capita, the U.S. is still one of the worst coal power emitters, behind only Australia, South Korea, and South Africa, and ahead of China and the EU. Worldwide, we’re only halfway to that 20 percent mark, according to Ember’s Global Electricity Review.