A majority of the additions to the U.S. electricity grid in 2016 were utility-scale wind farms and solar farms, according to U.S. Department of Energy analysis.
While natural gas and coal still account for most of the country’s energy use, wind and solar have outpaced both in their spread and growth. Last year, more than 60 percent of additions to grid were wind and solar farms, compared to the 33 percent contributed by natural gas.
Additions to the nation’s solar grid in 2016 were the greatest they have ever been– more than had been added up to 2013, according to the Energy Department.
Meanwhile, over the past several years, electricity companies have been retiring more nuclear and coal-fired power plants. The nation’s electricity sources are now split between much older units — most coal-fired power plants were built prior to 1980 — and much younger units, like natural gas-fired plans, wind and solar farms, most of which were built after 2000.