It’s impossible to avoid change. As per recent data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), renewables officially overtook fossil fuels as the second most common source of electricity in 2020. However, even though more experts than ever are gravitating to nuclear energy as a possible green energy source, the country’s energy generation has decreased slightly.
Renewable energy sources such as hydroelectric, geothermal, and geothermal accounted for upwards of one-fifth of all power generated in the United States, or 21%. Nuclear power was next on the list, with a 20% share, followed by coal with a 19% share. Fossil fuel-powered electricity has remained the most popular in the country, accounting for 40% of all electricity produced in 2020.
While this is disheartening, it also signals a significant step forward for renewables, demonstrating the continued collapse of coal as an energy source, that plummeted 20% from the year 2019 to the year 2020, whereas renewables increased by 9%. And, if current trends continue, renewables may supplant fossil fuels as the country’s primary energy source.
Wind was the most common renewable energy source in 2020. Still, other forms of renewables may soon catch up as per data on the website of EIA. Solar power at the utility scale, which includes facilities generating more than 1 megawatt, increased by 26 percent from 2019 to the year 2020.
This may not be the case, as the Biden administration expects natural gas costs to climb, pushing coal-fired electricity output to greater levels this year and reclaiming second place in 2021. Backtracking is typical on the path to progress, especially during world-historical disaster years such as 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the globe, putting the deadlines of practically every eco-friendly endeavor, not to mention major economies, in jeopardy.
Nuclear power was categorized as a “green investment” by European Union officials in April of this year, satisfying all conditions as a sustainable source of energy. In the context of renewables taking over coal in the United States, this helps to emphasize nuclear power’s rise, as more scientists and authorities warm to the source of energy as a feasible alternative to fossil fuels and coal. The European Commission determines which economic operations are viable from a sustainable policy stance, and in 2020, Brussels officials were split on whether nuclear power should be given the green light.
The necessity to evaluate the environmental consequences of radioactive waste disposal was one of the difficulties that prevented majority approval. A leaked report on the subject stated, “The assessments did not discover any science-centered evidence that nuclear energy causes more damage to human health or the environment than other power generating technologies.”