Wind & Solar Power Provide More Electricity Than Coal In USA

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

There’s a funny misconception hanging around that coal provides almost all of the electricity for the USA, or at least most of it. Those who love to hate on electric vehicles are fond of saying that EVs are powered by coal. A decade or two ago, yes, that was much more likely to be the case. Today, coal has shrunk enormously as a US electricity source, and it doesn’t even provide as much as solar and wind power together — at least, not in recent months.

In October, 6% of US electricity came from solar power and 10.8% came from wind. So, together, we got 16.8% of our electricity from solar and wind. By contrast, coal provided just 15.2% of the country’s electricity. This is a crossover from last year in the same month — 15.6% of electricity had come from wind and solar while 17% of electricity had come from coal. And it’s an even more dramatic departure from October 2021 — 14% of electricity had come from wind and solar while 19.3% of electricity had come from coal.

If we look at January–October, coal just slightly edges out wind and solar power — 15.9% of US electricity came from coal while 15.6% came from wind and solar combined. Again, though, the trend is clear — in January–October 2022, the split was 19.5% for coal and 14.9% for wind and solar; in January–October 2021, the split was 22.3% for coal and 12.7% for wind and solar. You can see how fast things are changing.

What about if we look at renewables as a whole?

Naturally, combining all renewables, they do significantly better than coal. Together, renewable energy sources accounted for 23.7% of electricity in October, compared to 15.2% from coal. That’s an improvement from 21% from renewables in October 2021 and 19.3% from coal. However, let’s be honest, if combining all renewables, we should combine all fossil fuels, and that still shows how dirty our electricity grid is. “Natural gas” (aka fossil gas) accounted fro a whopping 42% of US electricity in October. Combined with coal, that would be 57.2% of electricity. The figure would be 42.6% for all fossil fuels combined.

Looking at January–October, the difference is a little tighter. Renewables equaled 22.8% of electricity production, while coal equaled 15.9%. Okay, well, that’s not a competition. But neither is a comparison between renewable energy resources and fossil fuels. That is up from 20.4% for renewables and 22.3% from coal.

You can view interactive versions of these charts below. Note that they look and operate much better on a normal computer rather than a smartphone.

Stay tuned for more electricity reports on CleanTechnica soon.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Our Latest EVObsession Video

I don’t like paywalls. You don’t like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we’ve decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But…


Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!


Thank you!



CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

This post has been syndicated from a third-party source. View the original article here.

Related Articles

Back to top button