EIA data says 1st three-quarters of 2017 shows renewable electrical production up 14.7%

Biomass, geothermal, hydro, solar, wind all increase, coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear power all decrease; Renewables provide 17.8% of total U.S. generation as solar reaches 2.0% and wind is 6.0%

According to the recent 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 (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, distributed solar, and wind) rose by 14.69% during the first three-quarters of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.

U.S. electrical generation from renewable energy sources ( wind, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, and solar) rose by 14.69% during the first three-quarters of 2017.

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

Year-to-date, electrical generation by utility-scale solar (i.e., solar thermal and photovoltaic) plus small-scale solar photovoltaic rose by 43.2% and is now providing almost 2.0% (i.e., 1.99%) 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 (i.e., 3.92 x) 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 15.0%, wind by 11.5%, geothermal by 2.9%, and biomass by 1.6%. Together, electrical generation by non-hydro renewables is now nearly 10.0% (i.e., 9.92%). Wind alone is nearly 6.0% (i.e., 5.98%).

Overall, renewables accounted for 17.78% of domestic electrical generation during the first nine months of this year, up from 15.13% a year ago. Meanwhile, nuclear provided 19.57%, and fossil fuels 62.50% (In this order: gas, 31.94%; Coal, 30.05%; and oil, 0.51%) the balance (0.16%) 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 solar’s growth,” said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “The dirty energy sources they favor are rapidly losing ground and costly subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear power are their only option for survival.”

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