For apparently the first time ever, during the first quarter of 2014, electricity generated by non-hydro renewables (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) exceeded that provided by conventional hydropower. This is according to data in the latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) “Electric Power Monthly,” with preliminary data through to March 31, 2014.
Non-hydro renewables provided 53.16% of the net U.S. electrical generation from renewable energy sources for the period January 1 – March 31, 2014 while hydropower provided the balance of 46.84%.
This reflects an increase of 11.3% in electrical generation by non-hydro renewables compared to the first quarter to 2013 as well as a decline of 4.5% in hydropower’s output – possibly contributed to by the worsening drought in California. Notably, electrical generation from solar photovoltaic and solar thermal grew by 103.8% while wind expanded by 12.6%; biomass also increased – by 2.2%, but geothermal dipped by 3.3%.
Electrical generation from all renewable energy sources combined, including hydropower, was 3.29% higher during the first quarter of 2014 compared to the first three months of 2013 and accounted for 13.09% of net U.S. electrical generation. Hydropower accounted for 6.13% of net U.S. electrical generation for the period, followed by wind (4.82%), biomass (1.46%), geothermal (0.39%), and solar (0.29%).
“For more than a decade, renewable energy sources – led by wind and solar – have been rapidly expanding their share of the nation’s electrical generation,” said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “The most recent data affirm that the trend is continuing unabated.”
— Solar Builder magazine