Sun Day Campaign Review of data shows US renewable energy generation grew by 8.3% in 2022

According to a review by the Sun Day Campaign of data recently released by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), renewable energy sources (i.e., biofuels, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) provided 12.99 percent of the nation's total energy production in 2022. 
Sun Day Campaign Review of data shows US renewable energy generation grew by 8.3% in 2022
Courtesy of NREL.

The latest issue of EIA's ‘Monthly Energy Review’ report (with data through December 31) reveals that renewable energy sources grew by 8.28 percent last year compared to 2021 and by 14.24 percent compared to 2020. Renewable energy production in 2022 was also 18.53 percent higher than five years ago and 50.03 percent greater than a decade earlier. 

Across all end-use sectors (e.g., electricity, transportation, heating), renewable energy sources also accounted for 13.07 percent of energy consumption in 2022 - up from 12.43 percent a year earlier.

Energy output by most renewables increased in 2022 including solar (up 23.11 percent), wind (up 14.98 percent), biofuels (up 5.69 percent), geothermal (up 4.39 percent), and hydropower (up 4.13 percent). Only biomass + wood experienced a decline (down by 2.48 percent).

By comparison, fossil fuels grew by just 4.48 percent in 2022 while nuclear power fell by 0.86 percent.

Among renewable energy sources, wind provided the largest share of production - 28.81 percent, followed by biomass + wood - 19.43 percent, biofuels - 18.80 percent, hydropower - 17.36 percent, solar - 14.00 percent, and geothermal - 1.60 percent. 

In 2022, wind accounted for 3.74 percent of total energy production while solar contributed 1.82 percent - or 5.56 percent combined. That is roughly three times their share (1.90 percent) a decade ago. 

The production of biofuels has also experienced moderate growth - up 29.60 percent over the past ten years. Renewable diesel, in particular, has expanded dramatically, increasing nearly 28-fold since 2012 while production of "other biofuels" such as sustainable aviation fuel are 13 times higher than a decade ago. However, they still provide only a relatively small share (about 13 percent) of total biofuels output.

The combination of all renewables provided more energy than did either coal or nuclear power in 2022 with clean energy sources out-producing the latter two by 11.84 percent and 65.88 percent respectively. However, energy sourced from natural gas and oil still exceeded that from renewables.

Notwithstanding an increasing share of the nation's energy mix by renewable energy sources, EIA reports that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy consumption were 1.11 percent higher in 2022 than a year earlier and 7.95 percent higher than in 2020.

“Fossil fuels continue to dominate the nation's energy supply and that is reflected by the growth in US greenhouse gas emissions” noted the Sun Day Campaign's executive director Ken Bossong. “So, while renewable energy sources continue to expand their share of the nation's energy production and consumption and now top one-eighth of both, even faster growth remains essential.”

For additional information:

US Energy Information Administration Monthly Review  

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