Motley Fool: Renewables Will Account for 25% of U.S. Energy Production by 2050

Wind farm on a hillside

Credit: CanvaPro

by | Aug 22, 2023

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Wind farm on a hillside

(Credit: CanvaPro)

The United States is making efforts to drive renewable energy production at scale. Despite the recent push, renewable energy is expected to only make up 25% of U.S. energy production by 2050, according to a report from the Motley Fool.

While the increase in renewable energy represents billions of dollars of investments, the total representation of renewable energy will jump from 13% of all energy generated in the U.S. in 2022 to just 25% by 2050. Compared to neighboring countries, that’s not a significant adjustment. For example, Canada’s energy grid is already 84% powered by non-emitting energy sources such as hydro, wind, and nuclear. The country also aims to decarbonize even further and reach a net-zero grid by 2035.

In 2022, 79% of the energy generated in the U.S. came from fossil fuels, 13% from renewable energy, and 8% from nuclear. When U.S. energy production will reach 25% from renewable sources in 2050, 57% will still be produced by fossil fuels.

The findings came from the U.S. Energy Information Agency and were reported by the Motley Fool.

While the U.S. may lag behind other nations in the future when it comes to renewable energy, there is still a huge investment push in the space currently taking shape. Since August 2022, $271 billion in investments in clean energy have been announced in the U.S. Part of the recent push is thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, which implemented several new provisions incentivizing renewable energy. The U.S. solar industry alone counted $100 billion added thanks to the legislation.

From 1949 to 2022, the share of U.S. energy generation from fossil fuels fell from 91% to 79%, and energy consumption from fossil fuels experienced a similar decline. Over the same time, the share of energy production from coal fell from 39% to 12%, and consumption dropped from 38% to 10%.

Over time, the U.S. has seen a decline in the share of fossil fuels in overall energy production.

“From 1949 to 2022, the share of U.S. energy generation from fossil fuels fell from 91% to 79%, and energy consumption from fossil fuels experienced a similar decline,” the report said. “Over the same time, the share of energy production from coal fell from 39% to 12%, and consumption dropped from 38% to 10%.”

In the U.S., natural gas has also seen a big increase in production and share of overall energy production. From 1949 to 2022, natural gas increased its share of energy production from 15% to around 35%. Compared to the changes in fossil fuel and natural gas use and production, renewable energy has been much slower to catch on.

“Renewables made up 9% of U.S. energy consumption and production in 1949 and have grown roughly 40% to comprise around 13% of consumption and generation in 2022,” the report found. “Wind and solar energy have contributed the most to that growth, while hydroelectric power generation and consumption have declined.”

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