[image-caption title="Wind%20is%20still%20a%20bigger%20player,%20but%20EIA%20sees%20solar%20playing%20a%20growing%20role%20in%20the%20nation%E2%80%99s%20electricity%20generation.%20(Photo%20By:%20Getty%20Images)" description="%20" image="/news/PublishingImages/sto-august-wind-solar.jpg" /]
Far more of the nation's electricity is being generated by wind than solar, but prepare for a surge in panels.
The Energy Information Administration's latest
Short-Term Energy Outlook sees a 23 percent increase in solar generation this year, totaling an estimated 260,000 megawatt-hours per day. And for 2019, EIA forecasts an additional 12 percent, bringing the total to 290,000 MWh/d.
While solar is coming on strong, it still has a ways to go to catch up to wind generation, which EIA estimates averaged 697,000 MWh/d last year.
"EIA forecasts that wind generation will rise by 7 percent to 746,000 MWh/d in 2018 and by 5 percent in to 782,000 MWh/d in 2019," according to the report issued Aug. 7.
But even as renewables continue to make their mark on America's electricity generation, natural gas is expected to remain the leading source, with a share that's expected to grow.
EIA says natural gas-based power plants will account for 34 percent of total utility-scale electricity generation this year and 35 percent next year.
"EIA's forecast electricity generation share from coal averages 28 percent in 2018 and 27 percent in 2019, down from 30 percent in 2017," the report said. In 2018 and 2019, nuclear energy's share is expected to be 20 percent and 19 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, the worst of this year's pump prices may be in the rearview mirror.
"EIA expects that 2018 monthly average gasoline prices peaked in May and forecasts prices will remain relatively flat in the coming months," the report said. A gallon of regular averaged $2.85 in July, and EIA sees $2.83 in September.
"EIA expects regular gasoline retail prices to average $2.76/gallon in 2018 and in 2019," according to the report.