Electrical Generation_181

US: EIA Data Shows Renewables Outpacing Nuclear Power In Electrical Generation

The latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is showing that electrical generation by renewable sources has edged past nuclear power. Additionally, wind and solar now provide 10% of the nation’s electricity, overall; with solar alone surpassing biomass and geothermal combined. Significantly, solar now triples electrical generation by oil.

Renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) accounted for nearly 20% of net domestic electrical generation during the first half of 2018 – narrowly surpassing that provided by nuclear power, according to a SUNDAY Campaign analysis of just-released data from the U.S. EIA. Each accounted for almost one-fifth of the nation’s electrical generation: renewables (including distributed solar) – 19.867%, nuclear power – 19.863%.

In addition, the latest issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” (with data through June 30, 2018) reveals that solar and wind both showed strong growth with solar (i.e., utility-scale + distributed PV) expanding by 27.6% and wind by 11.2% compared to the first half of 2017. Combined, they accounted for nearly a tenth (i.e., 9.9%: wind-7.5%, solar-2.4%) of the nation’s electrical generation.

 Electricity generated by solar alone is now surpassing that supplied by biomass (1.6%) and geothermal (0.4%) combined. Moreover, the net electrical generation by solar during the first half of 2018 more than tripled that of utility-scale oil-fired facilities (i.e., those using petroleum liquids + petroleum coke).

 Small increases were also reported by EIA for geothermal and biomass — 1.0% and 0.8% respectively. Combined, non-hydro renewables grew by 12.2%. However, a 7.1% drop in hydropower output netted an increase of only 3.6% for all renewables in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017.

 That modest gain, though, continued to close the gap between renewables and coal with the latter dropping by 5.6%; renewables now provide nearly three-quarters (i.e., 74.3%) as much electricity as does coal. In fact, electrical generation by all fossil fuels (i.e., coal, gas, oil) combined was just 60.0% for the first half of 2018 while barely five years earlier, utility-scale fossil fuels accounted for nearly 70% (i.e., 68.6% at the end of 2012). The change is mostly attributable to the growth in domestic electrical production by renewable energy sources.

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