U.S. Solar, Wind Exceed 10% Of Monthly Generation For First Time

For the first time, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), monthly electricity generation from wind and solar (including utility-scale plants and small-scale systems) has exceeded 10% of total U.S. electricity generation.

Citing March data for its Electric Power Monthly, EIA says electricity generation from both of these energy sources has grown with increases in wind and solar generating capacity. On an annual basis, wind and solar made up 7% of total U.S. electric generation in 2016, the agency says.

Basing its prediction on seasonal patterns in recent years, EIA expects to report another 10+% for its April report. However, the agency expects this number to fall to under 10% for the summer months.

Since 2014, when EIA first began estimating monthly, state-level electricity generation from small-scale solar photovoltaic systems, combined wind and solar generation has reached its highest level in either the spring or fall. Because these seasons are times of generally low electricity demand, combined wind and solar generation also reached its highest share of the U.S. total during these times of the year, according to EIA.

Based on annual data for 2016, Texas accounted for the largest total amount of wind and solar electricity generation. (Nearly all of this generation was from wind, EIA notes.) As a share of the state’s total electricity generation, wind and solar output was highest in Iowa, where wind and solar made up 37% of electricity generation in 2016. In addition to Iowa, wind and solar provided at least 20% of 2016 electricity generation in six other states, EIA’s report says.

Further, in almost all states, wind makes up a larger share of the state’s total electricity generation than solar. Among the top dozen states, only California and Arizona had more solar generation than wind in 2016. Three states in the top 12 – Iowa, Kansas and North Dakota – had no generation from utility-scale solar plants in 2016 and relatively little output from small-scale solar photovoltaic systems, according to the report.

The entire report can be found here.


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