Renewable energy use is up sharply in Illinois and slightly in Missouri
Generation of renewable energy surged in many U.S. states last year with a major jump in Illinois and a minor increase in Missouri, according to a new report by a nonpartisan research group. Nationally, renewable energy climbed 16% in 2022, compared to 2021, according to the Climate Central “WeatherPower Year In Review: 2022.”
While that is not enough to meet net-zero emission goals, Climate Central Senior Data Analyst Jen Brady finds the figures encouraging, especially in light of a growing number of renewable energy projects in the country.
“There does seem to be a building momentum that we're seeing that's very positive in addition to the current growth that we've already seen,” said Brady.
Wind power accounts for 74% of the renewable energy in the United States. It is the biggest source in Missouri and Illinois, as well. Both are among the top 20 states in the country for wind energy supply.
Wind power capacity in Missouri remained unchanged last year at 2,436 megawatts. However, wind power generation was up 21%, compared to 2021, according to the report.
Wind capacity in Illinois dropped marginally last year to 7,057 megawatts, but generation of wind power was also up. It increased 22%, according to Climate Central.
While producing less energy overall than wind, solar energy has increased in both states, particularly in Illinois. That is another encouraging sign to Climate Central analyst Jen Brady, since neither is considered a sunshine state.
“When you think of solar, you think of California. You think of these traditionally very sunny states, Arizona things like that. So I always find it very promising when you see a state that's not traditionally thought of as a solar powerhouse increasing their numbers,” Brady said.
In Missouri, capacity for solar power increased by 5% to 248 megawatts. Solar power generation was up 14%, according to the Climate Central report.
Capacity for solar power in Illinois shot up 26% last year to 1,262 megawatts. According to the report, solar power generation in Illinois was up 88%.