40% of US electricity is now emissions-free (JOHN TIMMER – 12/28/2023, Ars Technica)
If we combine nuclear and renewables under the umbrella of carbon-free generation, then that’s up by nearly 1 percent since 2022 and is likely to surpass 40 percent for the first time.
The only thing that’s keeping carbon-free power from growing faster is natural gas, which is the fastest-growing source of generation at the moment, going from 40 percent of the year-to-date total in 2022 to 43.3 percent this year. (It’s actually slightly below that level in the October data.) The explosive growth of natural gas in the US has been a big environmental win, since it creates the least particulate pollution of all the fossil fuels, as well as the lowest carbon emissions per unit of electricity. But its use is going to need to start dropping soon if the US is to meet its climate goals, so it will be critical to see whether its growth flat lines over the next few years.
Outside of natural gas, however, all the trends in US generation are good, especially considering that the rise of renewable production would have seemed like an impossibility a decade ago.