Renewables Up, Coal Down, Natural Gas Production Up in 2023

In 2023, the share of U.S. electrical generation by renewable energy is expected to increase, according to a U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) January 2023 report. This increase is driven primarily by increased solar capacity and new wind projects. After representing 21 percent of electricity generation in 2022, the EIA is forecasting renewables (primarily wind and solar but also sources such as hydropower, geothermal, and biomass) to source 24 percent in 2023 and increasing again to 26 percent of the nation’s electricity in 2024.

Although production of coal actually increased in 2021 and 2022, the EIA expects a decline in 2023 and 2024. In addition, coal’s share of electricity generation is forecasted to decrease from 20 percent in 2022 to 18 percent in 2023 and 17 percent in 2024. For comparison, 40 percent of electricity generated in the U.S. came from the burning of coal back in 2013.

While natural gas’s share of electrical generation in 2023 and 2024 will contract slightly, production of natural gas is forecasted to increase and establish new record highs over the next two years. This increase is expected to occur along with new LNG export facilities in 2024 and new pipeline infrastructure projects in both 2023 and 2024. The EIA’s report forecasts that natural gas prices will decrease, on average, over the next two years.

Another positive sign for renewable energy generation in 2023 includes new legislation. The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) included tax incentives such as an advanced manufacturing production credit that can apply to certain components made in the U.S. such as solar battery cells, solar photovoltaic wafers, and solar modules. This along with other aspects of the IRA could triple U.S. clean energy production by the end of the decade according to a 2022 analysis by the American Clean Power association.

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