Every step closer to 100% renewable power is a step forward in the push to reduce global warming and the U.S. seems to be heading in the right direction.
According to data from the US Energy Information Administration, the nation generated more than 25% of its electrical power from renewable energy in the first half of 2022.
That means waste from the agricultural, food, and forestry industry, geothermal power, hydropower, wind and solar, saw their output jump 18.45% compared to the first half of 2021, as Electrek reported.
The 25% figure beat targets published earlier this month from the Energy Information Agency, which projected that renewables would be 22% of US output for the entirety of 2022.
And wind and solar combined to match the output of all of the U.S. nuclear power plants.
"It is conceivalbe that with the incentives provided by the Inflation Reduction Act, wind, solar, and other renewables will reach the one-htird point within the next few years and dominate electrical generation thereafter," Ken Bosson, the executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign, told Electrek.
While the new data is encouraging, uncertainty around the timing and scope of renewals on existing tax credits, and the fate of additional credits that the industry sought in the Build Back Better Act (now part of the Inflation Reduction Act), caused a slow down in new construction of renewables.
That slowdown could change how quickly more renewable capacity comes online and how quickly renewables overtake other fossil fuels in the nation's energy mix.
Still, the US has roughly 73.4 gigawatts of wind power projects slated for development through 2026. And new tax credits and other incentives should have utilities revisiting their project plans through the next five years.
If all of these projects come to fruition, the U.S. could blow past its climate targets for 2030, according to a Forbes column from Daniel Esposito, an analyst for the non-partisan energy think tank, Energy Innovation. And state regulators can help.
"States should pass more ambitious clean energy targets to capitalize on federal support, ensuring utilities relinquish old biases to bring low-cost renewables online. Regulators should also re-examine utility resource plans in light of new energy economics, identifying coal facility retirement opportunities and forgoing risky new natural gas power plants for similarly performing clean energy portfolios," Esposito wrote. "New IRA financing provisions can also help reduce the cost of paying down stranded assets, freeing up utility balance sheets for more renewable energy projects without raising rates."