Synapse Electricity Snapshot 2022

The Synapse Electricity Snapshot 2022 highlights several major trends in 2021 electric sector capacity, generation, CO2 emissions, and related statistics. Our key findings include the following:

  • Renewable capacity in the United States is 202 gigawatts (GW), exceeding both hydro and nuclear capacity. Renewables are the third-largest resource on a capacity basis, behind natural gas and coal. Renewables now trail coal capacity by 25 GW. Together, non-CO2-emitting generating capacity makes up 33 percent of the nationwide total and accounts for 38 percent of all generation.
  • Retirement of old and uneconomic coal plants, coupled with the low marginal costs of other resources like gas, wind, and solar, has led to the lowest level of coal generation since the early 1970s.
  • As in every month in 2018 through 2020, natural gas generation exceeded coal generation in every month of 2021.
  • From 2020 to 2021, annual sales increased by 2 percent, likely due to the easing of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Electric-sector CO2 emissions increased by 7 percent from 2020 to 2021. This rebound is tied to the increase in coal generation.
  • Since reaching an all-time peak in 2007, electric sector CO2 emissions have declined to 1,546 million metric tons in 2021, second behind in 2020 in terms of having the lowest level of emissions since the 1970s.
  • Since 1990, CO2 emitted per dollar of GDP has decreased by 59 percent, from 0.17 to 0.07 kg per dollar.

View Synapse's 2022 Electricity Snapshot for more insight into the latest electric-sector data.