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Published on July 17th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

18

Renewable Energy Accounts for 13% of U.S. Electricity by April 2009

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July 17th, 2009 by
 

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Renewable sources of energy are beginning to replace coal power in the U.S.:

Every year the percentage of U.S. electricity generated from renewables has been increasing, according to the latest figures released by the Energy Information Administration in its Electric Power Monthly report.

As a result, by April of 2009, the total was 12.97 percent, with hydropower accounting for 8.73 percent and other renewables like solar and wind 4.24 percent of all U.S. electricity on average among all the statesHigher wind generation totals in just 4 states accounted for 62.2 percent of the national increase in wind powered generation: Texas, Iowa, New York, and Indiana.

By contrast the percentage of electricity from fossil power is now actually decreasing.

Comparing April 2008 to April 2009, coal-fired generation fell by 20,551 thousand megawatt-hours, or 13.9 percent. Declines in 7 states accounted for 52.3 percent of the national decrease in coal-fired generation: they were Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, North Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Texas.

Net generation from wind sources was 34.8 percent higher than April 2008. Generation from conventional hydroelectric sources had the largest absolute increase in April 2009 as it was up by 3,918 thousand megawatt-hours, or up 18.4 percent from April 2008.

Interestingly, efficiency or conservation also appears to have increased:

Net electricity generation dropped by 5.0 percent from April 2008 to April 2009. This was the ninth consecutive month that net generation was down compared to the same calendar month in the prior year.

(Or perhaps that drop was the result of idled factory production since the EconoApocalypse last fall.)

Photography by JPHolappa

Via the EIA

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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



  • Pingback: Coal Ditched for Natural Gas at Power Plants : CleanTechnica

  • Uncle B

    Now that most American manufacturing has been bought out, or sold out, to Asiia, and China has become “Manufacturer to the World” it seems only reasonable than less demand, from factories, and former workers would occur! We no longer have jobs, factories or heavy industries, all gone to Asia and we have a surplus of power! Ontario, in Canada, major subsidiary manufacturers for America have the same problem! Huge Nuclear installations, powerful infrastructures in place, astounding housing investments, and no market for their effort! No Jobs, only Honda’s Hyundai’s, Toyota’s and Subaru’s! Goddamn! sounds like bumper-sticker material to me!

  • Uncle B

    Now that most American manufacturing has been bought out, or sold out, to Asiia, and China has become “Manufacturer to the World” it seems only reasonable than less demand, from factories, and former workers would occur! We no longer have jobs, factories or heavy industries, all gone to Asia and we have a surplus of power! Ontario, in Canada, major subsidiary manufacturers for America have the same problem! Huge Nuclear installations, powerful infrastructures in place, astounding housing investments, and no market for their effort! No Jobs, only Honda’s Hyundai’s, Toyota’s and Subaru’s! Goddamn! sounds like bumper-sticker material to me!

  • Brian

    Hi Susan, its great to see this information but I’m curious as to your numbers.

    From my calculations of net generation from energy source (http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/table1_1.html) it appears that renewables would be at 10.84%, and that’s including pumped hydro storage and “Other”

    At any rate I’ll agree its great to see this increase.

  • Brian

    Hi Susan, its great to see this information but I’m curious as to your numbers.

    From my calculations of net generation from energy source (http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/table1_1.html) it appears that renewables would be at 10.84%, and that’s including pumped hydro storage and “Other”

    At any rate I’ll agree its great to see this increase.

  • http://dotcommodity.blogspot.com Susan Kraemer

    RAMC – don’t you think that if coal is down 13% and renewables are up 13%, that’s a wash.

    That net generation is down 5%, that’s the economy (plus a little efficiency improvement, I suspect)

  • http://dotcommodity.blogspot.com Susan Kraemer

    RAMC – don’t you think that if coal is down 13% and renewables are up 13%, that’s a wash.

    That net generation is down 5%, that’s the economy (plus a little efficiency improvement, I suspect)

  • RAMC

    The reason coal generation is decreasing has nothing to do with the increase in renewable energy, it has everything to do with the economy. The economic downturn has caused a significant reduction in the need for power. As they said in a time past – “It’s the economy stupid!”

  • RAMC

    The reason coal generation is decreasing has nothing to do with the increase in renewable energy, it has everything to do with the economy. The economic downturn has caused a significant reduction in the need for power. As they said in a time past – “It’s the economy stupid!”

  • Neal Reardon

    While 45 percent less CO2 per MWh is an impressive technological improvement, this still leaves the Edwardsport IGCC plant as a very GHG intensive form of energy. I’d be more intersted to hear how it compares to a renewable project than to conventional coal.

    Limiting damage is fine, but true innovation maximizes the benefits!

  • Neal Reardon

    While 45 percent less CO2 per MWh is an impressive technological improvement, this still leaves the Edwardsport IGCC plant as a very GHG intensive form of energy. I’d be more intersted to hear how it compares to a renewable project than to conventional coal.

    Limiting damage is fine, but true innovation maximizes the benefits!

  • Matthew Johnson

    This is one of the most exciting articles I have read about Global Warming and renewable energies in quite awhile. Wouldn’t it be great if we made these numbers as well published as the Dow Jones Industrial or the Nasdaq? Everyone could get involved and get excited about our progress! Zoloft sales would go down!

  • http://americaspower.org Monica from ACCCE

    There’s all this talk about wind energy but what about clean coal technology? Once the Duke Energy’s Edwardsport IGCC plant in Indiana is completed (it’s on schedule for 2012), this IGCC plant will be one of the cleanest coal-based power plants in the world, producing 10 times as much power as the existing unit with 45 percent less carbon dioxide emissions per unit of energy produced. http://sn.im/factuality5

  • http://americaspower.org Monica from ACCCE

    There’s all this talk about wind energy but what about clean coal technology? Once the Duke Energy’s Edwardsport IGCC plant in Indiana is completed (it’s on schedule for 2012), this IGCC plant will be one of the cleanest coal-based power plants in the world, producing 10 times as much power as the existing unit with 45 percent less carbon dioxide emissions per unit of energy produced. http://sn.im/factuality5

  • chrisp

    With hydro up… it must have been much cooler and wetter spring. I don’t hear anything more about a draught in the south. Any figures???

  • chrisp

    With hydro up… it must have been much cooler and wetter spring. I don’t hear anything more about a draught in the south. Any figures???

  • chrisp

    is this because of a cooler spring??? what was the monthly average temp in these states?

  • chrisp

    is this because of a cooler spring??? what was the monthly average temp in these states?

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