United States Now Produces More Renewable Energy than Nuclear Energy

United States Now Produces More Renewable Energy than Nuclear Energy

BrightSource Energy Coalinga EORBy Ken Bossong, Sun Day Campaign (10/3/11)

According to the most recent issue of the “Monthly Energy Review” by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), with data through June 30, 2011, renewable energy has passed another milestone as domestic production is now significantly greater than that of nuclear power and continues to close in on oil.

During the first half of 2011, renewable energy sources (biomass & biofuels, geothermal, solar, water, wind) provided 4.687 quadrillion Btus of energy or 12.25% of U.S. energy production. By comparison, renewables accounted for 11.05% of domestic production during the first half of 2010 and 10.50% during the first half of 2009. (On the consumption side, which includes oil and other energy imports, renewable sources accounted for 9.45% of total U.S. energy use.)

More significantly, energy production from renewable energy sources in 2011 was 17.91% more than that from nuclear power, which provided 3.975 quadrillion Btus and has been declining in recent years. Energy from renewable sources is now equal to 79.83% of that from domestic crude oil production, with the gap closing rapidly.

Looking at all energy sectors (e.g., electricity, transportation, thermal), production of renewable energy, including hydropower, has increased by 15.02% compared to the first half of 2010, and by 22.79% when compared to the first half of 2009. Among the renewable energy sources, biomass and biofuels accounted for 46.04% in 2011 (54% from biomass and 46% from biofuels), followed by hydropower (37.00%), wind (13.40%), geothermal (2.33%), and solar (1.22%).

Looking at just the electricity sector, according to the latest issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly,” with data through June 30, 2011, for the first half of 2011, renewable energy sources (biomass, geothermal, solar, water, wind) accounted for 13.97% of net U.S. electrical generation – up 26.14% from the same period in 2010. Hydropower accounted for 8.94% of U.S. electrical generation, followed by wind at 3.24%, biomass at 1.33%, geothermal at 0.41%, and solar at 0.04%. Thus, non-hydro renewables accounted for 5.02% of net U.S. electrical generation. Comparing the first six months of 2011 to the first six months of 2010, solar-generated electricity expanded by 43.6%, wind by 35.1%, hydropower by 30.3%, and geothermal by 4.9%; only biomass dropped – by 4.4%.

By comparison, nuclear power’s contribution to net U.S. electrical generation totaled 19.12% representing a decline of 3.8% compared to the first half of 2010 and a drop of over 5% compared to the first half of 2009. Similarly, coal-generated electricity also dipped by 4.8% from its mid-year 2010 level while natural gas increased by 2.4%.

 

The U.S. Energy Information Administration released its most recent “Monthly Energy Review” on September 28, 2011.  It can be found at:  http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly.  The relevant charts from which the data above are extrapolated are Tables 1.1, 1.2, and 10.1.  EIA released its most recent “Electric Power Monthly” on September 15, 2011; see:  http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly. The relevant charts are Tables 1.1, ES1.B, and 1.1.A.

Renewable Energy Almost Equals Nuclear Energy in USA

Renewable Energy Almost Equals Nuclear Energy in USA

Wind Energy Growth in USEIA Data (12/22/10)

According to the most recent issue of the “Monthly Energy Review” by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), “nuclear electric power accounted for 11% of primary energy production and renewable energy accounted for 11% of primary energy production” during the first nine months of 2010 (the most recent period for which data have been released).

More specifically, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass/biofuels, geothermal, solar, water, and wind) accounted for 10.9% of domestic energy production and increased by 5.7% compared to the same period in 2009. Meanwhile, nuclear power accounted for 11.4% of domestic energy production but provided 0.5% less energy than a year earlier.

And according to EIA’s latest “Electric Power Monthly,” renewable energy sources accounted for 10.18% of U.S. electrical generation during the first three-quarters of 2010. Compared to the same period in 2009, renewables – including hydropower – grew by 2.2%. While conventional hydropower dropped by 5.2%, non-hydro renewable used in electrical generation expanded by 16.8% with geothermal growing by 4.9%, biomass by 5.5%, wind by 27.3%, and solar by 47.1%. Non-hydro renewables accounted for 3.9% of total electrical generation from January 1 – September 30, 2010 — up from 3.5% the year before.

Preliminary data also show that fossil fuels accounted for 78% of primary energy production. Overall, U.S. primary energy production rose by 2% compared with the first nine months of 2009. The report also showed that consumption of oil, including imported oil, has declined due to more fuel-efficient vehicles and because vehicle miles traveled peaked in the U.S. in 2005.

“Members of the incoming Congress are proposing to slash cost-effective funding for rapidly expanding renewable energy technologies while foolishly plowing ever-more federal dollars into the nuclear power black hole,” said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. The Southern Company was recently provided with $8.4 billion in federal loan guarantees to build two new nuclear reactors. The guarantees could cost taxpayers $8.4 billion should the project later be cancelled due to cost overruns. Congress is considering over $40 billion for new nuclear reactors.