US electrical generation from renewables hits 14.3%

Renewable energy sources accounted for 14.3% of net U.S. electrical generation in the first half of the year, according to a new report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Data from the EIA’s latest Electric Power Monthly report indicates non-hydro renewables, including solar, wind, geothermal and biomass, made up a 7.3% share of electrical generation, while conventional hydropower accounted for 7%.

Overall, electrical generation from non-hydro renewable energy sources expanded by 10.4% compared to the first half of 2013.

Solar-generated electricity more than doubled, growing by 115.7%, while wind power increased by 9% compared to last year, accounting for 5% of the nation’s electrical generation during the first six months of the year. Biomass also grew by 4%. Geothermal power, however, dipped by 1.5% and conventional hydropower declined by 4.2%.

Even with the lower output from hydropower and geothermal, net U.S. electrical generation from all renewable sources combined grew by 2.73%. By comparison, net electrical generation from all energy sources — renewables, fossil fuels and nuclear power — grew by 2.59%.

"Not long ago, EIA was forecasting that renewables would not reach 14% of U.S. electrical generation until the year 2040," noted Ken Bossong, executive director of the Sun Day Campaign. "And even the current 14.3% figure undoubtedly understates the real contribution from renewables inasmuch as EIA’s data does not fully reflect distributed and off-grid generation."