Solar & Wind Provided 11% of US Electricity in First 2 Months of 2021

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Following our US Power Capacity Report for the first two months of 2020, which showed that 99.7% of new US power capacity came from solar and wind, we’ve got a US Electricity Generation Report that is much less uplifting.

Aside from the fact that 11% is a lot lower than 99.7% (of course), the bad news is that the solar and wind electricity share was stagnant in the first two months of the year compared to the first two months of 2020 (also 11%).

Even worse, overall, renewables were down. The renewable share was 20.6% in the first two months of 2020 and was 19.8% in the first two months of 2021. (Yikes.)

This isn’t just a matter of share dropping, either. Renewable electricity output dropped in absolute terms in the first two months of the year, with wind down a bit, wood fuels down a bit, other biomass down a bit, and hydro down a bit. Solar power, though, was up.

What really needs to happen to stop global climate catastrophe, though, is for fossil fuel use to decline rapidly. And that’s the worst news of all. Electricity from coal jumped from 18.2% share in the first two months of 2020 to 24.8% in January and February of 2021. In absolute terms, output rose by more than 48,000 GWh. Natural gas, meanwhile, dropped by a bit more than 20,000 GWh, and from 38.9% to 34.6%. Electricity from nuclear power plants also declined, but not by as much.

Any other takeaways from the 2021 numbers so far?

Related Story: Renewables = 20.6% Of US Electricity In 2020

Interactive charts are below, but note that they often don’t work well on mobile devices. Check them out on a true computer!


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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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