Wind Energy FAQs: Generation By Type

U.S. Electricity Generation by Type (2008-2019)

Since 2008 there has been a rapid shift in how the U.S. generates its electricity. The most significant part of that change has been a sharp fall in the use of coal and an equally sharp rise in gas which has gained more than 20 percentage points of market share since January 2004: the most of any generator. Although gas  is marketed by its proponents as a ‘bridge fuel’ there is considerable evidence that lobbying pressure from the hydrocarbon industry is keeping renewables – specifically wind and solar – off the grid.

There are, however, signs that the rapid growth of gas is reaching a peak. Indeed the EIA’s 2020 Annual Energy Outlook – which has traditionally had a very conservative view of the growth potential of new renewables – envisages that gas will gain essentially no new market share out to 2050. Over the same time period, the AEO expects renewables to be the biggest winner: solar will gain most while – true to past EIA predictions – lackluster growth is expected from wind.

Time will tell!

Despite this Administration’s focus on supporting the coal industry, the rate of decline of coal-fired power generation has increased slightly over the last year but is nonetheless largely unchanged since 2011.