U.S. power generation from wind in March hit 43.2 million MWh, accounting for almost half of the total renewable output and nearly quadruple solar's 11.9 million MWh of generation.
Fossil fuel remained the top source for power in the U.S. in March with generation from coal and natural gas totaling 172.8 million MWh, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's latest "Electric Power Monthly," released May 24.
Total utility-scale generation net of hydroelectric pumped storage increased 4.4% year over year in March to 326.0 million MWh compared to 310.9 MWh in March of 2021. March's generation is down slightly from February's reported output of 327.8 million MWh.
Over the same period, gas-fired generation climbed 5.1% to 112.0 million MWh, accounting for 34.4% of the net total. Meanwhile, coal-fired generation declined 2.0% versus the prior-year period to 60.8 million MWh, to account for 18.6% of the nation's electricity.
Renewable output climbed 13.3% year over year to 87.1 million MWh, approximately half the level of fossil fuel contributions and accounting for roughly a quarter of U.S. electricity. Wind was the largest source of renewable output in March at 49.7% of total, while solar took up the lead for the largest year-over-year percentage gain at 28.2%.
In the first quarter of 2022, utility-scale generation climbed 4.4% to 1.03 billion MWh, with coal supplying 21.2% of the nation's power and natural gas at a 35.2% share. Renewable generation supplied 23.5% of the nation's power, compared with 20.8% a year earlier. Wind accounted for 11.6% of U.S. power generation and conventional hydro accounted for 7.4%.
Coal-fired generation declined 5.3% year over year in the first quarter to 219.0 million MWh, while gas-fired generation climbed 5.9% to 363.9 million MWh. Renewable generation grew 18.1% to 243.0 million MWh, surpassing coal generation.
Power-sector coal stockpiles increased by 2.2 million tons during the month, below the 10-year average build of 2.6 million tons. During the prior 10 years, March stockpile fluctuations versus the prior month have ranged from a draw of 3.8 million tons to a build of 8.5 million tons.
The EIA estimates that the March stockpile level of 86.2 million tons translates to 98 days of burn for bituminous coal and 105 days of burn for sub-bituminous. That is 5.0% below the five-year average for the month for bituminous, and 5.4% above the five-year average for subbituminous.
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