In 2022, the US electric power sector produced 4090 million MWh of electric energy, and generation from renewable sources – wind, solar, hydro, biomass, and geothermal – overtook coal-fired generation in the sector for the first time. Renewable generation overtook nuclear for the first time in 2021 and continued to provide more electricity than nuclear generation last year.

Natural gas remained the largest source, increasing from a 37% share in 2021 to 39% in 2022. The share of coal-fired generation decreased from 23% in 2021 to 20% in 2022 as a number of coal-fired power plants retired and the remaining plants were used less. The share of nuclear generation decreased from 20% in 2021 to 19% in 2022, following the retirement of Palisades NPP in May 2022. The combined wind and solar share of total generation increased from 12% in 2021 to 14% in 2022. Hydropower generation remained unchanged, at 6%, in 2022. The shares for biomass and geothermal sources remained unchanged, at less than 1%.

Growth in wind and solar generating capacity drove the increase in generation. Utility-scale solar capacity increased from 61 GW in the sector in 2021 to 71 GW in 2022, according to data from EIA’s ‘Electricity Power Monthly’. Wind capacity grew from 133 GW in 2021 to 141 GW in 2022.

More wind generated power was produced in Texas than in any other state last year. Texas accounted for 26% of total last year, followed by Iowa (10%) and Oklahoma (9%). One of the largest wind farms in the United States (nearly 1000 MW capacity) came online in Oklahoma in 2022.

In 2022, California ranked first in solar generation, producing 26% of the country’s utility-scale solar electricity. Texas was the second-largest producing state (16%), followed by North Carolina (8%). Several of the largest solar plants built in the USA in the last three years are located in Texas, including the 275 MW Noble solar plant, which started operations in 2022.

EIA’s March edition of ‘Short-term Energy Outlook’ forecast that wind’s share in the US generation mix will increase from 11% last year to 12% this year, and that the solar share will grow to 5% in 2023, from 4% last year. The natural gas share of generation is forecast to remain unchanged from last year (39%); the coal share of generation is forecast to decline from 20% last year to 17% in 2023.

In these reports, the electric power sector includes electric utilities and independent power producers. It does not include generators in the industrial, commercial, or residential sectors, such as rooftop solar panels installed on homes or businesses or some combined-heat-and-power systems.