Wind power made a huge milestone in March, as it produced more electricity than both coal and nuclear energy for the first time ever in US history.
The US Energy Information Administration said on March 29, wind turbines in the continental US produced 2,017 gigawatt-hours of electricity, making up 19% of US energy that day and only surpassed by natural gas with 31% on the same date.
Although it wasn’t the largest source of electricity that day, wind power has ranked in front of coal and nuclear energy on separate occasions, but never both on the same day. Nuclear energy also produced 19% of electricity, while coal produced 17%.
The Energy Information Administration said a likely factor in the amount produced is wind speeds often peak during the spring in the US On the same day, the Southwest Power Pool, which covers parts of North Dakota to Oklahoma, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas reported wind penetration records.
At the same time, the Energy Information Administration noted since the demand for electricity usually dips during the spring and fall, nuclear and coal generators reduce their output or scheduled maintenance during the season. When there is more wind, coal and natural gas generations often reduce their output to match the demand with the overall supply for electricity.
In 2019, wind capacity surpassed nuclear capacity, but nuclear energy usually produces more electricity because of technological differences. On average, the wind usually produces the least amount of electricity each month. The EIA Energy Information Administration does not expect wind power to overtake coal-fired or nuclear generation in any month in 2022 or 2023.
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