Year to Date: Renewables Exceed 20.1% of U.S. Electricity Neck and Neck with Nuclear, Closing in on Coal, Solar Reaches 2.7% of Total as Wind Retains Its Lead over Hydropower

Ken Bossong, SUN DAY Campaign

U.S. wind-generated electricity increased by 0.9% compared to the first half of 2018.

Renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind)accounted for more than a fifth (20.1%) of net domestic electrical generation during the first six months of 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 19.9%

The latest issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” (with data through June 30, 2019) reveals that solar and wind both showed continued growth. Solar, including small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) 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 nearlya 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 vs. 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 — 399,585 vs. 400,005 thousand megawatt-hours or 20.11% vs. 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 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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