Renewables surpassed coal and nuclear to become the second largest power source only to natural gas in 2020, said the U.S. Energy Information Administration in the Monthly Energy Review.
Electricity generated by renewables reached 834 TWh in 2020, taking 21% of all the electricity generated in the U.S., while coal-fired and nuclear power outputs were 790 TWh and 774 TWh, accounting 19.9% and 19.5% of the total.
"This outcome resulted from a significant decline in coal burns and steady increase of wind and solar power generation. Natural gas generated 1,620 TWh of electricity in 2020," said the monthly energy report.
The U.S. plans to add 39.7 GW of power-generating capacity in 2021, with renewables nearly accounting for 80%, and the share of renewable in the country's energy mix will increase to 47% in 2022, and expand to 88% in 2023.
In 2020, U.S. electricity generation from coal in all sectors dropped 20% from 2019, while that of renewables increased 9%, among which wind made the largest contribution with a yearly increase of 14%, and nuclear registered a year-on-year decrease of 2%.
The report anticipated coal-fired electricity generation is to increase again in the U.S. during 2021, as natural gas prices continue to rise and coal becomes more economically competitive. Coal-fired electricity generation is expected to increase 18% from the year-ago level in 2021 before falling 2% in 2022. And power from renewables will register a yearly rise of 7% in 2021 and 10% in 2022.
The report forecast that coal will restore its second place in electricity source in 2021, and will hand over the rank to renewables in 2022. Nuclear power is anticipated to decline 2% in 2021 and 3% in 2022 alongside retiring of several nuclear power generators.
(Writing by Lilya Li Editing by Tammy Yang)
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