U.S. electrical generation from renewable energy sources rose by 14.69% during the first three quarters of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, while electrical generation by fossil fuels and nuclear power combined declined by 5.41%, according to a new analysis from the SUN DAY Campaign.
Citing the latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) “Electric Power Monthly” report (with data through Sept. 30), the group says 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% during the first three quarters.
Year-to-date, U.S. 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, SUN DAY says, 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.
SUN DAY notes all other U.S. 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% (i.e., gas: 31.94%, coal: 30.05%, 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,” charges 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.”