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Renewables to take center stage in electrical growth through 2025

(Randy Montoya/FlickrCC)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Daily coal-fired electrical generation decreased by nearly a quarter between 2021 and 2023, clearing the way for renewable energy to drive electrical generation growth through 2025, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says.

Between 2021 and 2023, coal-fired electrical generation decreased by about 23% throughout all hours of the day, per the EIA, which says most of the decline, about 19%, occurred between 2022 and 2023. 

The reduction in coal-fired electrical generation can be attributed to the recent retirement of 17% of the coal-fired fleet, an increase in natural gas–fired and solar generating capacity, and lower pricing for wind, solar and natural gas–fired electrical generation, according to the EIA.

With electricity generation forecast to grow by about 4% in 2024 and another percent in 2025, the EIA says most of that growth will be supplied by renewable energy sources — chiefly solar, which should provide 41% more electricity in 2024 than in 2023. 

Assuming wind speed predictions are accurate, wind generation should increase by 5% in 2024 while hydropower should increase by 6% from the previous year, according to the EIA. 

All told, renewable electrical generation is predicted to account for 22% of the total U.S. generation in 2024, increasing to 24% in 2025. Solar, wind and hydropower accounted for 21% of U.S. generation in 2023, per the EIA. 

“In 2025, we expect generation from solar to exceed the contribution from hydroelectricity for the first year in history,” EIA Administrator Joe DeCarolis said in a statement. 

While the EIA predicts U.S. coal exports to increase by 4% from an April prediction, the 99 million short tons forecast still fall short of production levels seen in 2023 by about 14%.