The United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported this week that the country’s renewable energy generation has nearly doubled since 2008, jumping from 382 million megawatt hours (MWh) to 742 million MWh.
The report cites increases in solar and wind energy production as the driving force behind the growth in renewables. The following chart available on the EIA website details the increase of wind and solar over hydroelectric power and other renewables:
Wind, solar lead the way
The EIA report provided a more detailed breakdown of the nation’s wind and energy production both in the report referenced earlier, as well as the full data set used to generate the report.
Wind, in particular, is responsible for “nearly 90 percent of the increase in U.S. renewable electricity” The EIA noted.
In the past 10 years, wind energy generation rose from 55 million MWh in 2008 to 275 million MWh.
The EIA’s data set indicates that the West South Central region was the most productive in 2018, with Texas (75.7 million MWh) and Oklahoma (27.5 MWh) generating the most wind energy among all states.
Growth in wind energy production, the EIA said, is “driven largely by capacity additions.” Capacity in 2008 was 25 gigawatts, whereas a capacity of 94 gigawatts was “operating on the electric grid” in 2018.
Solar energy generation has grown more than 94 MWh per year over the past decade, from 2 million MWh in 2008 to 96 million MWh in 2018.
Though tax credits for wind and solar will end in a few years, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said this past month that, based on EIA findings, “renewables are going to continue to grow in the electricity mix, possibly surpassing coal and nuclear in the near future here.”
The following EIA chart shows the increases in both wind and solar over the past decade:
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