US renewable energy sources accounted for nearly 20% of the country’s net electrical generation during the first half of 2018, according to new figures from the US Energy Information Administration, and narrowly beat out that provided by nuclear power.
According to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest “Electric Power Monthly” report, and highlighted by Ken Bossong and the Sun Day Campaign to journalists via email, renewable energy sources accounted for 19.867% of the country’s electrical generation during the first half of the year, while nuclear power accounted for 19.863%.
The figures representing renewable energy include biomass, geothermal, hydropower, wind, and solar — both utility-scale and distributed.
The latest EIA report showed that solar and wind both saw strong growth through the first year, with utility-scale and distributed solar combined expanding by 27.6% and wind growing by 11.2% compared to the first half of 2017. Together, wind and solar accounted for nearly a tenth of the country’s electrical generation.
Most importantly, however, is the closing gap between renewables and coal.
According to EIA data, coal only contributed 26.93% to the country’s energy mix, well down on traditionally historical trends. In fact, when adding up all fossil fuel sources, they only account for 60% of domestic electrical generation — where only five years ago the figure stood at 68.6%.
The half-year figures match up with what we saw from the EIA’s figures for the first four months of the year. In the first third of 2018, renewable energy sources accounted for 19.5% of total electrical generation, while nuclear accounted for 20.3%, coal accounted for 27%, and natural gas 31%.