Data published last week by the US Energy Information Administration reveals that renewable electricity generation accounted for nearly a fifth of all domestic electrical generation in the United States through the first half of the year, and narrowly beat out nuclear power.
US renewable energy sources accounted for 19.867% of the country’s electrical generation during the first half of 2018, compared to nuclear power which accounted for 19.863%.
The Sun Day Campaign, an advocacy group, added up all the data available from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) from biomass, geothermal, hydropower, wind, and solar – both utility-scale and distributed.
The EIA’s most recent “Electric Power Monthly” report also shows that solar and wind are both continuing their strong growth through the first half of this year, with utility-scale and distributed solar combined expanding by 27.6% compared to the first half of 2017, while wind energy grew by 11.2% over the same period.
Combined, wind and solar now account for nearly a tenth of the United States total domestic electrical generation.
However, what’s also worth noting is the closing gap between renewable energy and coal power.
According to EIA data, coal power provided 26.93% of the United States’ total electrical generation through the first half of 2018, down 5.6% over the same period a year earlier.
Further, all fossil fuel sources accounted for only 60% of total electrical generation, where five years earlier they accounted for nearly 70% – a change which is largely due to the growth in domestic renewable energy generation.
The Sun Day Campaign has been watching EIA data closely for a while now, providing journalists with regular emails explaining the data and doing some of the leg-work to show what the data means for various energy sectors in the US. In late-June, EIA’s data showed that renewable energy sources accounted for a fifth of US power generation through the first third of the year.
Meanwhile, coal continues to hover around the 25% mark, sliding back and forth depending on the month, quarter, third, or half.