Renewables, Nuclear Neck And Neck For Electric Generation In First Half Of 2019

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Renewable energy sources – biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind – accounted for more than one-fifth (20.1%) of net domestic electrical generation during the first six months of 2019, according to a SUN DAY Campaign analysis of newly released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). A year earlier, renewables’ share was 19.9%.

The latest issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” (with data through June 30) reveals that solar and wind both showed continued growth.

Solar, including small-scale solar photovoltaic systems, increased by 10.5% compared to the first half of 2018 and accounted for 2.7% of the nation’s total net generation. Small-scale solar (e.g., distributed rooftop systems) – which increased by 19.9% – provided nearly one-third (32.7%) of total solar electrical generation.

U.S. wind-generated electricity increased by 0.9% and topped that provided by hydropower by 0.4%. Wind’s share was 7.8% of total electrical output versus 7.7% from hydropower.

Combined, wind and solar accounted for 10.5% of U.S. electrical generation through the end of June. In addition, biomass provided 1.5%, and geothermal contributed a bit more than 0.4% (reflecting 2.2% growth).

Moreover, during the six-month period, electricity from renewable energy sources ran neck and neck with that from nuclear power: 20.11% versus 20.14% of total domestic electrical output.

In addition, during the first half of 2019, renewables further closed the gap with coal. A year ago, renewables provided 74.6% as much electricity as coal. However, growth in renewable electrical output coupled with a 13.2% drop in that of coal has resulted in renewables generating 85.0% as much electricity as coal during the first six months of 2019.

The latest issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” was officially released on Aug. 26. The data cited in SUN DAY’s update can be found here and here.

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