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U.S. Wind Surpassed Both Coal And Nuclear Power For The First Time Ever

Power generation from wind turbines was the second-largest source of electricity in the United States on March 29, behind only natural gas and surpassing both coal and nuclear power generation for the first time on record, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Thursday.  

On March 29, wind turbines in the Lower 48 states produced 2,017 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity, EIA’s Hourly Electric Grid Monitor showed. Daily wind-powered electricity had surpassed coal-fired and nuclear electricity generation separately on other days earlier this year but had not surpassed both sources on a single day, the administration noted.

The U.S. wind power capacity installation has soared in recent years to the point where wind capacity exceeded nuclear capacity in September 2019.

Currently, wind power ranks as the third-largest source of generating capacity in the United States, behind natural gas-fired generators and coal-fired generators, the EIA said.

Despite surpassing nuclear capacity more than two years ago, wind still generated less electricity than nuclear because the two technologies differ in their utilization.  

The average capacity factor of U.S. wind generators was 35 percent in 2021, much lower than the average capacity factor of nuclear generators, 93 percent in 2021. Nuclear generators are designed to run at or near full output, which they typically do.  

Despite beating both coal and nuclear on a single day, wind power generation in the U.S. is not expected to surpass either coal or nuclear generation on a monthly basis in any month this year or next, the EIA’s most recent Short-Term Energy Outlook forecast showed.

The U.S. surpassed more than 200 GW of total operating utility-scale clean power capacity in 2021, the American Clean Power Association (ACP) said in February, but warned that “significant policy issues continue to hold back growth for the industry and threaten the country’s ability to meet emissions goals.”


Growth in wind power installations could slow this year due to ongoing supply chain issues and market volatility which has been exacerbated by the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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  • DoRight Deikins on April 15 2022 said:
    Actually Texas generated more than 50% of its total power for the month of Feb 2018 by wind, the first state in the USA to do so. But one must realize tha February in Texas can be the month where the least energy is needed (moderate temperatures) and the winds are often strongest. [But since the climate in Texas is highly variable, just a couple years later it had the Texas Power Crisis of Feb 2021.]
  • Mamdouh Salameh on April 15 2022 said:
    Despite surpassing nuclear capacity, wind still generated less electricity than nuclear in 2021. The average capacity factor of U.S. wind generators was 35% compared with 93% for nuclear generators.

    That is why a total global energy transition to renewables for electricity generation is a myth. Even a partial transition can’t succeed without huge contributions from natural gas, coal and nuclear energy because of the intermittent nature of wind and solar energy.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London
  • George Doolittle on April 15 2022 said:
    Should the USA be plunged into recession as is obvious current matter and case combined with #ibm and #powerwall and wind energy output could absolutely soar as percentage of total power output for lower 48 USA absolutely.

    Remains to be seen if this is a one off as the USA starts pinching off exports to all the World save Canada which has its own horrific economic issues to deal with at the moment and indeed far worse than anything Of the USA. Luckily for Canada they do have the USA market to export into would be an understatement as the ahem "global economy" ahem be blown to pieces by War over Ukraine of Europe.

    Long US Treasuries
    Strong buy
  • R T C 216 on April 14 2022 said:
    Surpassed output on one day out of 365. A long way to go.

    More focus should be on nuclear if people are serious about "clean energy".

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