U.S. Renewable Electricity Grows as Fossil Fuels & Nuclear Fall

According to the latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) “Electric Power Monthly” report (with data through September 30, 2017), U.S. electrical generation from renewable energy sources (biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) rose by 14.69 percent during the first three-quarters of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.

Simultaneously, electrical generation by fossil fuels and nuclear power combined declined by 5.41 percent. Nuclear power and coal both dropped by 1.5 percent, natural gas (including other gas) was down by 10.7 percent, and oil (petroleum liquids and petroleum coke) plunged by 17.1 percent.

Year-to-date, electrical generation by utility-scale solar (solar thermal and photovoltaic) plus small-scale solar photovoltaic rose by 43.2 percent and is now providing almost 2 percent of total electrical generation. For perspective, solar has more than doubled its generation since 2014. It has surpassed biomass and is now providing nearly four times the combined electrical output of oil and other petroleum-based sources.

All other renewable energy sources showed positive growth as well: electrical output from hydropower grew 15 percent; wind by 11.5 percent; geothermal by 2.9 percent; and biomass by 1.6 percent. Together, electrical generation by non-hydro renewables is now nearly 10 percent. Wind alone is nearly 6 percent.

Overall, renewables accounted for 17.78 percent of domestic electrical generation during the first nine months of this year, up from 15.13 percent a year ago. Meanwhile, nuclear provided 19.57 percent, and fossil fuels 62.50 percent (gas-31.94 percent, coal- 30.05 percent, oil-0.51 percent); the balance was from pumped hydro and other sources.

“It’s no wonder congressional tax writers are seeking to undermine renewable sources while the White House contemplates tariffs to put the brakes on the growth of solar,” says Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “The dirty energy sources they favor are losing ground and subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear power are their only option for survival.”

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