U.S. electricity generation from renewable energy grows in 2017

Electricity from renewable sources, especially wind and solar, continued to increase in the United States last year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Tuesday.

According to EIA’s Electric Power Monthly, wind made up 6.3 percent of total net generation, and utility-scale solar made up 1.3 percent, which are record shares for both fuels.

Nearly 6.3 gigawatts (GW) of wind turbines and 4.7 GWs of utility-scale solar photovoltaic systems were added in the country in 2017.

Meanwhile, hydroelectricity increased in 2017, accounting for 7.5 percent of total net generation.

The EIA’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook expects hydro to continue to exceed wind in 2018, but wind is projected to become the predominant renewable electricity generation source in 2019.

Total U.S. net electricity generation fell slightly, down 1.5 percent, in 2017, reflecting lower electricity demand.

Natural gas and coal generation fell by 7.7 percent and 2.5 percent from 2016, respectively, as generation from several renewable fuels, particularly hydro, wind, and solar, increased from 2016 levels.

Although natural gas continued to be most-used fuel for electricity generation for the third consecutive year, natural gas-fired electricity generation fell by 105 billion kilowatts in 2017, the largest annual decline on record.

Coal-fired electricity generation also fell, but to a lesser extent, marking the first year since 2008 that both natural gas-fired and coal-fired electricity generation fell in the same year.