Natural gas and coal still make up 60% of nation’s power, while renewables contribute one-fifth

The SUN DAY campaign analyzed the latest data from the US EIA and found that renewables accounted for 20.45% of total US electricity production in the first three quarters of 2021.

Credit: Billy Ludt/Solar Power World

Solar energy increased by 24.61% and wind increased by 10.89% compared to the same nine-month period in 2020. Together they grew by 15% and accounted for more than one-eighth (12.59%) of the US electricity generation (wind: 8.50%, solar: 4.09%). Moreover, wind and solar together now provide 61.55% of the generation from renewable sources.

In addition, geothermal energy posted a gain of 2.75%, while electricity generated from wood and other biomass increased by 1.71%. Combined, all non-hydropower resources grew by 12.8%.

However, as a result of deteriorating drought conditions, hydropower decreased by 12.47%. Nevertheless, all renewable energy sources combined – including hydropower – produced 4.05% more electricity than a year earlier. However, as electricity generation from all sources increased by 3.26%, the share of renewable energy in the total increased only slightly: from 20.30% in 2020 to 20.45% this year.

Renewables also extended their lead over nuclear power, providing 10.72% more electricity than the country’s nuclear power plants (18.47% of the total). Natural gas continued to be the main source of electricity generation in the US with a share of 37.57%, but down from 40.75% a year ago. Coal bounced back to second place (with a share of 22.60%) and grew by 25.31% compared to the first three quarters of 2020.

However, longer-term trends still point to the gradual and likely accelerated relocation of coal and nuclear power from renewable energies, especially solar and wind. Compared to the first nine months of 2016, coal-generated electricity decreased by 23.08% and nuclear energy by 5.33%. Meanwhile, the share of renewable energy in total electricity generation has grown from 15.10% to 20.45%, with wind increasing 65.23% and solar trebling.

“Since they have maintained a generally faster rate of growth than any other energy source over the past half-decade and beyond, it seems safe to say that solar and wind will eventually become the country’s top electricity producers,” the SUN noted. DAY campaign on. Executive Director Ken Bossong. “They now have a growing edge over nuclear power; surpassed coal in 2020 and are likely to do so again next year; and are rapidly cutting into the current dominance of natural gas.”

News item from SUN DAY

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