United States

United States

Renewables output outpacing coal and nuclear in US

Renewable energy sources outperformed coal and nuclear in the US during the first five months of the year, according to analysis of Energy Information Administration (EIA) data

The US wind power fleet grew by 11.7% between the end of May 2019 and the end of May 2020 (pic credit: RWE)
The US wind power fleet grew by 11.7% between the end of May 2019 and the end of May 2020 (pic credit: RWE)

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The fastest growing energy sources during this period were wind and solar, according to analysis by renewables advocacy group the Sun Day Campaign.

Wind generated 11.1% more electricity (144.8GWh) than it did in the same period one year earlier , and accounted for 9.4% of the United States' total generation between January and May — up 1.4 percentage points from the first five months of 2019.

According to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly, the US’ wind power fleet reached nearly 109.3GW by the end of May 2020 — an increase of 11.7% year on year.

Meanwhile, solar generated 23.1% more electricity in the first five months of 2020 (50.6GWh) than it did in the same period one year earlier, and accounted for 3.3% of the US’ total electricity generation in this time  — up half a percentage point from January-May 2019.

Combined, renewable energy sources — also including hydropower, biomass and geothermal — generated 331.2GWh in the first five months of the year. This is more than both coal (258.9GWh, down 33.9% year on year) and nuclear (327.6GWh, down 1%).

However, natural gas still produced the most electricity in the first five months of the year — 606.9GWh, up 7.9% year on year.

The Sun Day Campaign’s executive director Kenneth Bossong said: “With each passing month, it is becoming ever more probable that renewables will outpace both this year and then begin closing the gap with natural gas."

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