Renewable Energy Electric Production Update

Thomas Schueneman

Despite some efforts to deny or stop it, renewable energy continues to grow in the United States.

Following is the latest press release from Ken Bossong of the SUN DAY Campaign, summarizing the data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

2019: Electricity from non-hydro renewable energy sources increased 8.5 percent, providing 11.6 percent of total U.S. production. Solar expanded 14.9 percent, wind grew by 10.1 percent

For Release: Thursday - February 27, 2020

Contact: Ken Bossong, 301-270-6477 x.6

Washington DC – Renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) accounted for 18.2 percent of net domestic electrical generation during 2019, according to a SUN DAY Campaign analysis of just-released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). A year earlier, renewables' share was 17.5 percent.

The latest issue of EIA's "Electric Power Monthly" (with data through December 31, 2019) reveals that solar and wind both showed continued, strong growth, expanding faster than all other energy sources.

Solar, including small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, grew 14.9 percent compared to 2018 and accounted for almost 2.6 percent of total electrical output. Small-scale solar (e.g., distributed rooftop systems) - which increased by 18.6 percent - provided nearly a third (32.7 percent) of total solar electrical generation. The growth rate of distributed solar was greater than that of any other energy source.

In addition, U.S. wind-generated electricity increased by 10.1 percent, accounting for 7.2 percent of all electricity produced.

Combined, wind and solar accounted for almost a tenth (9.8 percent) of U.S. electrical generation through the end of December. In addition, biomass provided a bit more than 1.4 percent and geothermal contributed almost 0.4 percent (with the latter reflecting 0.3 percent growth).

In total, non-hydro renewable sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) accounted for 11.6 percent of total U.S. electrical production during 2019 and grew by 8.5 percent compared to 2018.

Notwithstanding a 6.4 percent decrease in hydropower's output and a 5.6% drop in that of biomass, electrical generation by the mix of all renewables, including hydropower, was 2.6% higher than a year earlier.

By comparison, nuclear-generated electricity increased by just 0.3% while that from coal plummeted by 15.7 percentt. However, much of the latter was replaced by natural gas which grew by 7.7 percent.

If present trends continue, electrical generation by the mix of renewable energy sources could overtake nuclear power in 2020 and coal in 2021.

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NOTE: The figures cited above include EIA's "estimated small-scale solar photovoltaic" which totaled 35,041 thousand megawatt-hours for 2019.

The latest issue of EIA's "Electric Power Monthly" was officially released late on February 26, 2020. For the data cited in this news update, see:

Table ES1.A. Total Electric Power Industry Summary Statistics, 2019 and 2018

Table ES1.B. Total Electric Power Industry Summary Statistics, Year-to-Date 2019 and 2018

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The SUN DAY Campaign is a non-profit research and educational organization founded in 1992 to aggressively promote 100% reliance on sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels and as a strategy for addressing climate change.

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