It’s Wednesday, March 1, and U.S. solar and wind capacity grew last year.

US wind and solar power grew in 2022, especially in states like Texas and Oklahoma

The United Sates’ installed solar and wind capacity grew by 13 gigawatts in 2022 to a total of more than 238 gigawatts, according to a new analysis from Climate Central, a nonprofit science communication organization. The amount of electricity generated by wind and solar grew even more quickly, jumping from 588,471 gigawatt-hours in 2021 to 683,130 in 2022 — enough to power about 64 million average American households.

About three-quarters of this electricity generation was from wind, and the remaining quarter was from solar. Federal data shows that wind and solar provided about 15 percent of the United States’ total electricity generation in 2021.

Some states contributed more to the growth than others. Texas, for example, dominated the country in last year’s renewables surge, adding more solar and wind capacity than any other U.S. state. Experts say this is because Texas has built many transmission lines to transport moving wind power from where it’s generated to population centers, and because there are fewer regulatory hurdles there for energy development.

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“Texas is rich in wind speed and rich in sun,” Irfan Khan, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Texas A&M University, told the Guardian.

Oklahoma came in a distant second place for added wind capacity, and California was just behind Texas in new solar capacity. Overall, sunny Southern states led the nation in solar capacity, and states in the breezy Midwest led in wind power. The trend shows that renewables development can transcend partisan politics: Four of the top five states with the most wind capacity went to former President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, as did three of the top five states with the most solar capacity.

The report paints a sunny picture of the U.S. renewable energy sector and its ability to keep expanding. “A lot of sectors need to contribute to get us to net-zero,” Jen Brady, Climate Central’s manager of analysis and production, told me, “but we found good alignment with the direction we’re going and where we need to get to in the renewables sector.”

While recent growth trajectories aren’t fast enough for the U.S. to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, the authors predict that that could soon change, thanks in part to new incentives for wind and solar expansion included in the landmark climate spending bill that President Joe Biden signed into law last summer.

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