Dec 13, 2023 - Energy & Environment

A U.S. energy milestone is just around the corner

U.S. electricity generation by select source
Data: U.S. Energy Information Administration; Chart: Deena Zaidi/Axios Visuals

An inflection point in U.S. energy looks imminent.

Driving the news: Combined power generated by wind and solar is slated to eclipse coal-fired electricity next year, as the sources move in opposite directions.

Why it matters: The milestone, forecast by the Energy Department's independent statistics arm, helps tell the ongoing story of massive changes to the U.S. power mix.

The big picture: Coal has long declined thanks to pollution rules and relatively inexpensive and abundant natural gas — now by far the largest power source. Meanwhile, the march of renewables is fueled by cost declines, federal subsidies, state energy policies and more.

Zoom in: The Energy Information Administration sees gas with a 42% share of U.S. electricity next year, with coal at 15%, all renewables (not just wind and solar) at 24%, and nuclear at 19%.

The bottom line: The country's power mix is changing fast, but it's still a long way from the White House goal of 100% carbon-free power by 2035.

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