Renewable Energy Use In United States Reaches Major Milestone

<p>For the first time in United States history, renewable energy generated over 10 percent of the country's total share of electric power. It's a new milestone that won't last long, as wind turbines and solar panels continue to be installed.</p>


May 26 2019, Updated 2:39 p.m. ET

Renewable energy continues to grow in the United States, and that fact was made very apparent with the total percentage reaching double digits for the first time ever. Both wind and solar energy generation combined for 10 percent of the entire country’s electrical production in March. The spring season was mainly the charge behind this increase, and it’s likely only going to get bigger every year.

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Based on reports from the US Energy Information Administration, wind accounted for eight percent of renewable generation, with solar adding the other two percent. That’s traditionally spiked at this time period when it comes to electric generation in the United States. The renewable source peaked over four percent in 2011, at the same time solar energy was finally becoming a blip on the radar.

As the years have gone on, it’s increased dramatically. Solar power got its biggest boost in 2014, jumping to over one percent, while that combined with wind, was able to reach seven percent of total generation. Last year, solar almost reached two percent with wind nearly hitting the seven percent mark.

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Texas is the biggest contributor for wind generation in the United States. Their capacity sits at over 21,000 megawatts worth of wind turbines, and that will expand by 28 percent with more projects in the works. Surprisingly, that wind accounts for just 13 percent of the state’s total electricity generation back in 2016. Iowa holds the biggest share of renewable energy as wind and solar creates 37 percent of the state’s electrical resources in that time frame.

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Since most of the country’s renewable energy was generated by wind, it shouldn’t be a surprise that most states create more of it than solar. Based on the same 2016 statistics, California and Arizona are the only two states that generate more solar power than wind. This is why there’s such a heavy push for Tesla and other companies to create and sell solar panels and rooftops in these areas.

Don’t expect these records to last for very long. The USEIA said in their report that “electricity generation from wind and solar will probably exceed 10% of total U.S. generation again in April 2017, then fall to less than 10% in the summer months.” This has been the ongoing trend over the past three years since solar power has had a significant footprint in the electrical share.

These records could also drastically bump up over the near future. Technology costs to build more solar panels and wind turbines have gone . With Tesla and their competitors pushing affordable options in the upcoming years, solar generation could see a massive boost from where it’s at now. The solar industry is also employing people at twice the rate of fossil fuel companies.


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