2019 Could Be The Year Wind Beats Hydro For U.S. Electrical Generation

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An analysis by the SUN DAY Campaign of the latest forecast data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) confirms continued strong growth in electrical generation by renewable energy sources in 2019 and 2020.

According to the latest issue of EIA’s “Short-Term Energy Outlook” (STEO), renewable sources (biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind) “will produce 18 percent of U.S. electricity in 2019 and almost 20 percent in 2020.”

Moreover, the STEO underscores prior predictions by the SUN DAY Campaign that either this year or next, wind would overtake hydropower and renewables would out-perform nuclear.

Specifically, earlier this year, the SUN DAY Campaign issued an analysis that noted, “Wind is now neck-and-neck with hydropower. … If wind generation continues its current rate of growth, it will likely close the gap with hydropower at some point in 2019 or early 2020 and become the No. 1 renewable electrical source.”

As if to confirm, EIA’s STEO report now states, “… wind generation will surpass hydroelectric generation to become the leading source of renewable electricity in [2019 and 2020].”

The SUN DAY Campaign had also earlier forecast that “electrical generation by the mix of hydro and non-hydro renewables may soon permanently overtake nuclear power. … they will collectively generate close to the same amount of electricity as nuclear power in 2019 and very probably surpass it in 2020.”

EIA’s STEO again offers confirmation and projects nuclear power to provide 2.185 billion kWh/day in 2019 compared to 2.058 billion kWh/day from the combination of hydropower and non-hydro renewables. In 2020, EIA foresees nuclear output dropping to 2.144 billion kWh/day, while renewables are expected to grow to 2.198 billion kWh/day.

The growth in renewables is being driven primarily by wind and solar, notes SUN DAY. Findings presented in the STEO suggest that between 2018 and 2020, wind-generated electricity will grow by 29.0%, while that from large-scale solar will expand by 33.3%, and that from small-scale solar will grow by 44.4%.

EIA’s latest “Short-Term Energy Outlook” report was released on April 9. It can be found here.

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