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Surging energy prices accelerating pace of wind, solar and battery adoption

April 04, 2022

April 4, 2022 (IEEFA)—Surging global energy prices are supercharging the already rapid pace of growth in solar, wind and battery storage projects, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis U.S. 2022 Power Sector Outlook.

Last year, IEEFA predicted that wind, solar and hydro would account for almost 30 percent of the U.S. electric power market by the end of 2026. Given the growth over the last year, IEEFA now expects the figure is likely to hit 33 percent. Combined with current nuclear generation, more than half of the U.S. electricity supply would come from carbon-free sources.

“With fossil fuel price volatility and energy security currently among the top concerns of executives and policymakers, IEEFA finds the energy transition is tipping even more strongly toward renewables and battery storage, and that this trend will continue to drive fossil fuels out of the power market,” said Dennis Wamsted, an IEEFA analyst/editor and co-author of the annual report.

The 2022 outlook noted a handful of recent developments pointing to the continued growth of renewable power sources:

  • Construction has begun on the first two commercial-scale offshore wind farms in the U.S., off the coasts of New York and New Jersey.
  • Major utilities that have traditionally relied on coal—including Georgia Power, Duke Energy and the Tennessee Valley Authority—are planning to shift to renewable sources by 2035.
  • The total annual amount of gas-fired electricity generation has apparently peaked and continues to be displaced by solar and wind output.
  • Corporate renewable energy demand is climbing and could drive the construction of as much as 94 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2030.
  • Increasingly high levels of renewable energy with battery storage are being integrated into the U.S. power grid while maintaining system reliability.

“The compelling economics and proven reliability of renewable energy and storage have changed perceptions in utility and corporate boardrooms across the U.S., driving a buildout of wind and solar generation portfolios and prompting businesses and consumers to push for greater access to green energy,” said Seth Feaster, an IEEFA energy data analyst and co-author of the report.

The latest outlook also identified two major developments to watch during the current year: The potential for green hydrogen to play a bigger role in the transition from fossil fuels, and the potential for electric vehicles to be a grid resource, rather than just adding demand.

“Utilities are investigating programs to help EV owners use their vehicles as backup power sources during grid outages,” said David Schlissel, IEEFA director of resource planning analysis and a co-author of the outlook. “Using EVs to help meet peak demand needs on the grid could eventually become a reality as utilities and owners become more comfortable with nascent vehicle-to-grid technology options.”

Full Report: U.S. 2022 Power Sector Outlook

Author Contacts:

Dennis Wamsted ([email protected]) is an IEEFA analyst/editor

Seth Feaster ([email protected]) is an IEEFA energy data analyst

David Schlissel ([email protected]) is IEEFA director of resource planning analysis

Media Contact:

Vivienne Heston ([email protected]), +1 (914) 439-8921

About IEEFA: The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) examines issues related to energy markets, trends and policies. IEEFA’s mission is to accelerate the transition to a diverse, sustainable and profitable energy economy.

Dennis Wamsted

Dennis Wamsted focuses on the ongoing transition away from fossil fuels to green generation resources, focusing particularly on the electric power sector. He has 30 years of experience tracking utility transitions and technology developments.

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Seth Feaster

Seth Feaster is an Energy Data Analyst whose work focuses on the coal industry and the U.S. power sector.

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David Schlissel

David Schlissel is an IEEFA analyst with 50 years of experience as an economic and technical consultant on energy and environmental issues. 

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