Wednesday, October 12, 2016

SUN DAY Campaign: Renewables Now Exceed Nuclear in Energy Supply & Electrical Capacity

(a campaign for a sustainable energy future)

News Advisory


For Release:  Wednesday - October 5, 2016

Contact:  Ken Bossong, 301-270-6477 x.11

Washington DC – Two new reports from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) confirm that nuclear power is rapidly losing the race with renewable energy sources.

EIA's latest "Monthly Energy Review" (with data for the first half of 2016) notes that during the first six months of this year, renewable sources (i.e., biofuels, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, and wind) accounted for 5.242 quadrillion Btus (quads) of domestic energy production.  This includes thermal, liquid, and electrical forms of energy.  By comparison, nuclear power provided only 4.188 quads.  That is, renewables outpaced nuclear by more than 25%. [1]

Meanwhile, FERC's latest "Energy Infrastructure Update" (with data through the end of August 2016), states that the total available installed generating capacity in the U.S. from the combination of utility-scale (i.e., greater than 1-MW) hydropower, wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal has grown to 215.82 gigawatts (GW) or 18.39% of total generating capacity.  Nuclear power's installed capacity is only107.06 GW or 9.12% of the total. Thus, renewable energy generating capacity is now more than double that of nuclear. [2]

However, actual electrical generation by nuclear plants for the first seven months of 2016 is 19.9% of total generation. That is still higher than that provided by renewable sources which contributed 15.8% (a figure which does not include electricity produced by distributed renewables such as rooftop solar). [3]

But while nuclear power's share of net electrical generation has remained essentially flat over the past decade -- e.g., it was 19.4% in 2006, renewable energy's share is growing rapidly -- increasing from 9.5% ten years ago to 15.8% today [4] -- with EIA forecasting continued strong growth in the years ahead. [5]

"If renewable sources maintain their current growth rates, they could fully eclipse nuclear in the trifecta of not only energy supply and generating capacity but also electricity production within the next five or six years," concluded Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign.  

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[1] U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Monthly Energy Review," September 27, 2016
[2] Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, "Energy Infrastructure Update," September 30, 2016
[3] U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Electric Power Monthly"(see Table ES1.B), September 26, 2016
[4] Ibid. (see Table 1.1)
[5] U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Short-Term Energy Outlook," September 7, 2016

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