US wind has overtaken coal and nuclear for the first time ever

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Electricity generation from wind turbines was the second largest source of electricity in the United States on March 29, behind natural gas and surpassing coal and nuclear electricity generation for the first time, the report said. ‘US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Thusday.

On March 29, wind turbines in the lower 48 states produced 2,017 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity, the EIA’s hourly power grid monitor showed. Daily wind power had surpassed coal and nuclear power generation separately on other days earlier this year, but had not topped both sources in a single day, the administration noted.

The installation of wind capacity in the United States has exploded in recent years to the point that 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 generators and coal-fired generators, the EIA said.

Although it exceeded nuclear capacity more than two years ago, wind still produced less electricity than nuclear because the two technologies differ in their use.

The average capacity factor for US wind turbines was 35% in 2021, much lower than the average capacity factor for nuclear generators, 93% in 2021. Nuclear generators are designed to operate at or near full power, which they typically do .

Despite beating both coal and nuclear in a single day, wind power generation in the United States is not expected to exceed coal or nuclear generation on a monthly basis in any month. this year or next, according to the latest EIA forecast of the near-term energy outlook. .

The United States surpassed more than 200 GW of total utility-scale clean power capacity in 2021, the American Clean Power Association (ACP) said in February, but warned that “significant political issues continue to stunt industry growth and threaten the country’s ability to meet emissions targets.

Growth in wind installations may 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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