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Renewables Growth in US Electricity

Renewables Growth in US Electricity
June 29, 2022 Mike Watson

The United States is in the process of making its electricity supply much greener. The largest current sources of electricity currently are gas (37%); coal (23%); nuclear (19%) and wind (9%). Coal and gas generation result in significant carbon-dioxide emissions whereas wind and nuclear generation do not.

US renewablesFigure 1: Solar Farm. [1]

US Renewables Planned Expansion

Over the next thirty years coal and nuclear stations are to be decommissioned whilst there will be substantial growth in wind and solar whilst the overall demand for electricity will grow by around 1% per year. Solar PV is expected to go from delivering 4% of electricity demand to 22%. 

The difference in longitude between the east and the west (in excess of 50 degrees) of the country means that peak solar generation at the west coast occurs  more than three hours after peak solar generation at the east coast. The US electricity grid connects all areas of the US which means that generation peaks in one region can be used to satisfy demand in others. 

This massive increase in solar generation will, nevertheless, mean that overall electricity generation will exceed demand during the sunny middle of the day. There will therefore be a significant reliance on energy storage to soak up the excessive generation during the day and supply demand (typically) later the same day. 

There is expected be very strong growth in solar generation on the west coast which will mean that the biggest requirement for electricity storage will also be at the west coast. Over the same time period there will be a significant increase in wind generation in Texas and the mid-west.

United States Carbon Dioxide emissions have been falling and continue to fall. These falls are expected to continue as coal fired electricity generators are replaced by wind and solar generation. New energy storage facilities will be required to efficiently use the nation’s large scale solar generation.

About Pager Power

Pager Power undertakes glint and glare assessments for solar PV installations in the United States and the rest of the world. For more information about what we do, please get in touch.

References:

[1] Nuno Marques (Feb 2021) on Unsplash.com. Last accessed on June 29th 2022. Available at: https://unsplash.com/photos/0GbrjL3vZF4

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