More than one-fifth of domestic electrical generation comes from renewables in 2019

renewables versus coal

Taken as a whole, renewable energy sources (biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) accounted for more than a fifth (20.3%) of net domestic electrical generation during the first five months of 2019, according to a SUN DAY Campaign analysis of recently-released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The latest issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” (with data through May 31, 2019) reveals that solar and wind both showed continued growth.

Solar, including small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, increased by 10.9% compared to the first five months of 2018 and accounted for 2.6% of the nation’s total net generation. Small-scale solar (e.g., distributed rooftop systems) – which increased by 20.2% – provided a third (33.3%) of total solar electrical generation.

U.S. wind-generated electricity topped that provided by hydropower by 2.7%. Wind’s share was 8.0% of total electrical output vs. 7.8% from hydropower.

Combined wind and solar accounted for 10.6% of U.S. electrical generation through the end of May. In addition, biomass provided 1.5% and geothermal contributed a bit more than 0.4%.

Moreover, for the five-month period, electricity from renewable energy sources surpassed that from nuclear power (331,613 vs. 331,200 thousand megawatt-hours). In May alone, renewably-generated electricity exceeded nuclear’s output by almost 10% (i.e., 9.9%).

Also in May, for the second month in a row, renewably-generated electricity exceeded that from coal (73,779 vs. 71,988 thousand megawatt-hours).

Thus, in May 2019, renewables for the first time moved into second place among the major generating sources, providing more electricity than either coal, nuclear, or oil and exceeded only by natural gas.

— Solar Builder magazine


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