US wind and solar combined produced more electricity than coal during the first quarter of 2023 and virtually tied with nuclear power in March.
This is according to a review by the Sun Day Campaign of data recently released by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Electricity generation by wind increased 5.3% compared with the same period a year ago and provided 12.5% of the US’s total.
Together, wind and solar – including rooftop and other small-scale solar – provided 16.9% of the country's electrical output in the first quarter of 2023.
In comparison, electrical generation by coal plummeted by 28.6% year on year, and provided just 15.6% of total US electrical generation during the quarter.
In March alone, the country's wind turbines produced almost as much electricity (44,355GWh) as coal (49,863GWh).
For the first quarter, electrical generation by nuclear power dropped by 0.6%, but it still out-produced the combination of wind and solar, according to the analysis.
However, wind and solar mix virtually tied with nuclear power in March, at 62,734GWh versus 62,820GWh.
Electricity generated by the full mix of renewable energy sources – including biomass, geothermal, and hydropower – exceeded that by coal by 59.5%. Renewable electrical production also surpassed that of nuclear power by 28.2%. Only natural gas – with a 39.3% share of the total – provided more electricity than renewables.
Moreover, the current growth rates of solar and wind strongly suggest they will eventually outpace nuclear power production for part or all of this year.