Nuclear power has taken a back seat to renewable sources of electricity for the first time

Electricity production from utility-scale renewable sources exceeded nuclear generation in March and April. That’s the first time renewable sources have outpaced nuclear since 1984.

The growth in renewables has been fueled by scores of new wind turbines and solar farms. Recent increases in hydroelectric power as a result of heavy snow and rain in Western states last winter also provided a boost.

Experts predict output from the nation’s nuclear plants will still outpace renewables for the full year. One reason is seasonal variation. Less water flows through dams in the drier summer months. Also, nuclear plants tend to undergo maintenance during spring and fall months, when overall electricity demand is lower.