US Renewable Electrical Generation Hits 14.3 Percent

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)'s latest "Electric Power Monthly" report, with data for the first six months of 2014, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) provided 14.3 percent of net U.S. electrical generation. Conventional hydropower accounted for 7.0 percent, while non-hydro renewables provided an even larger share at 7.3 percent.

Overall, electrical generation from non-hydro renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) expanded by 10.4 percent compared to the first half of 2013, according to the EIA

Wind power alone increased by 9.0 percent compared to last year and accounted for 5.0 percent of the nation's electrical generation during the first six months of 2014, while solar-generated electricity more than doubled (growing by 115.7 percent). Biomass also grew by 4.0 percent. However, geothermal power dipped by 1.5 percent and conventional hydropower declined by 4.2 percent.

Even with the lower output from hydropower and geothermal, net U.S. electrical generation from all renewable sources combined grew by 2.73 percent. By comparison, net electrical generation from all energy sources — renewables, fossil fuels and nuclear power — grew by 2.59 percent.

Not long ago, EIA was forecasting that renewables would not reach 14 percent of U.S. electrical generation until the year 2040. And even the current 14.3 percent figure undoubtedly understates the real contribution from renewables as EIA's data does not fully reflect distributed and off-grid generation.

Lead image: Renewable energy via Shutterstock

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Ken Bossong is the Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. The SUN DAY Campaign is a non-profit research and educational organization founded in 1993 to promote sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels.

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