Renewables Reach 19 Percent of U.S. Electrical Generation

Renewable energy sources (biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) has accounted for 19.2 percent of net domestic electrical generation during the first quarter of 2018, according to a SUN DAY Campaign analysis of data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

In addition, the latest issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” (with data through March 31, 2018) reveals that wind accounted for 7.8 percent of total electrical generation during the first three months of this year, exceeding, for the first time, that produced by hydropower (7.6 percent).

Solar alone (utility-scale + distributed PV) is providing almost 2 percent (1.8 percent) of the nation’s electrical production. As such, it is now surpassing that supplied by either biomass (1.6 percent) or geothermal (.4 percent). Moreover, the net electrical generation by solar (utility-scale + distributed PV) during the first quarter more than doubled that of utility-scale oil-fired facilities (those using petroleum liquids + petroleum coke).

EIA’s data also show that electric power output by non-hydro renewable sources increased by 13.4 percent compared to the first quarter of 2017. Geothermal was up by 1 percent, biomass by 1.7 percent, wind by 12.9 percent, and solar (including small-scale distributed PV) by 33.2 percent.

However, net electrical generation by hydropower dropped by 6.9 percent so the combination of hydropower and non-hydro renewables experienced a net increase of 4.4 percent compared to the same time period in 2017.

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