Renewables exceed 20.3% of US electricity in Jan-May 2019, outpace nuclear
Wind turbines in Illinois, USA. Author: Tom. License: Creative Commons. Attribution 2.0 Generic.
Renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) accounted for 20.3%, or more than a fifth, 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 US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The latest issue of EIA's "Electric Power Monthly" contains data through May 31, 2019, and 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, such as distributed rooftop systems, increased by 20.2% and provided a 33.3% of total solar electrical generation.
US 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 US electrical generation through the end of May. In addition, biomass provided 1.5% and geothermal contributed a bit more than 0.4%.
Electricity from renewable energy sources, at 331,613 GWh in the five months, surpassed that from nuclear power, which stood at 331,200 GWh. In May alone, renewables output exceeded that of nuclear by 9.9%.
Also in May, for the second month in a row, the 73,779 GWh of renewably-generated electricity exceeded the 71,988 GWh from coal.
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.
# # # # # # # # #
NOTE: The figures cited above include EIA's "estimated small-scale solar photovoltaic" which totaled 13,882 GWh for the first five months of 2019.
Ken Bossong is Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign, a non-profit research and educational organiсation promoting sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels.