Growth expected in electricity sales and generation from renewables through 2022

EIA forecasts U.S. retail sales of electricity will increase by 2.8% in 2021, led by a 5.1% increase in sales to the industrial sector. In the most recent release of our Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), we forecast electricity sales will also grow in the commercial sector, though at a slower rate of 2.1%, as many workers continue working from home.

“The increase in electricity sales to the industrial sector is a strong sign of rising levels of economic output as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes in the United States,” said EIA Acting Administrator Steve Nalley.

Renewable energy should contribute a greater share of U.S. electricity generation through 2022, reaching a 23% share, up from 20% in 2020. About 50 gigawatts of solar and wind capacity is scheduled to come online in the United States during the next 18 months, with 2022 as the first year that growth in utility solar capacity will outpace wind capacity growth.

We forecast an 11% decrease in electricity generation from hydropower in California and the Northwest in 2021 because of weather conditions and a 12% decrease nationwide.

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