The U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) on Nov. 29 released electric generation statistics through the end of September 2016. Generation from geothermal, solar, and wind energy increased by 24 percent compared with the first nine months of 2015. Non-hydro renewable energy, including biomass, has made up 8.5 percent of U.S. electric generation thus far in 2016.
Overall, renewable energy sources, including hydro-electric power, made up 15.1 percent of total U.S. electric generation through the first nine months of 2016. This is down from 16.9 percent during the first half of 2016 (with 9.2 percent from non-hydro renewables), but still far ahead of 2015. Non-hydro renewable energy is still expected to be over 9 percent of total generation by the end of the year, up from 7.6 percent in 2015.
Through the first nine months of 2016, total power generation in the U.S. is down by roughly one half percent, while consumption is down by about 1 percent, most significantly from the industrial sector. This has enabled renewables to gain a significant market share.
Coal generation had been floundering through the first half of 2016, down by over 20 percent compared with the first half of 2015. Coal has since made up some ground, but is still down over 13 percent compared with the first nine months of 2015. Even though the new administration has promised to revive the coal industry in the years ahead, the numbers don’t paint a positive picture.