You might have heard that clean energy sources like wind and solar are becoming cheaper and more common throughout the U.S. and the world. But sometimes it’s unclear what exactly “more common” means.
When it comes to producing electricity, clean power is gaining steam fast. So fast, in fact, that it’s likely to provide the U.S. with a full 25% of its electricity by either this year or next, according to a new Energy Information Administration report.
This past year, clean energy accounted for a little more than one-fifth of all electricity generation with wind producing the greatest share.
But it’s actually not wind power that’s growing the fastest. Surprisingly, massive increases in solar power are responsible for two-thirds of all clean energy growth in the U.S. Because of this growth, solar and wind power together will likely produce more electricity than coal within the next year or two, signifying an important trend.
Considering that solar energy produced only 1% of America’s electricity just seven years ago, this increase is monumental.
It’s important to note that methane gas is still the country’s leading resource in electricity production, responsible for about around 40% of all electricity. And while this figure is likely to drop by about a percentage point a year, the burning of this dirty fuel source is contributing heavily to the overheating of our planet.
But if you ask Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the nonprofit SUN DAY Campaign, the 25% milestone is just the beginning. Bossong credits the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) for the explosive growth of the clean power sector.
“It is conceivable that with the incentives provided by the new IRA, wind, solar, and other renewables will reach the one-third point within the next few years and dominate electrical generation thereafter,” Bossong said in a press statement.