Overall US electricity generation has been relatively stable at around 4 PWh/year for the last 17 years, reflecting increasing energy efficiency even as our economy continues to grow. However, that relative stability belies a massive shift away from coal and towards gas, wind, and solar.
☀️ Solar Explosion
In the last decade, solar power has transformed from an experimental niche to one of the cheapest sources of power in the near-perfect conditions of the desert Southwest — although its intermittent nature will make further growth more difficult.
🌬️ The Rise of Wind
Wind generation has skyrocketed to become a major electricity source for the states of the windswept Great Plains. Our great offshore wind potential remains untapped for now.
☢️ Neglected Nuclear
Nuclear plants easily remain our largest and most reliable source of safe, carbon-free power — but instead of expanding, we are starting to retire plants early. Any serious decarbonization plan must address the regulatory, economic, and cultural hurdles that hold nuclear back.
Use the controls to filter by fuel source and move through time. Zoom in to see data on individual plants. What interesting patterns do you see?