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Coal, Nuclear Decline as Renewables Increase Share of US Electricity Supply
WASHINGTON - February 18 - According to the latest figures published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its "Electric Power Monthly" report released on February 13, 2009, renewable sources of electricity enjoyed significant growth during the past year while nuclear and coal both experienced notable declines.
Specifically, EIA reports that net electricity generation in the United States dropped by 0.9 percent from November 2007 to November 2008. This was the fourth consecutive month that net generation was down compared to the same calendar month in 2007.
The drop in coal-fired generation was the largest absolute fuel-specific decline from November 2007 to November 2008 as it fell by 4,380 thousand megawatt-hours, or 2.7 percent. Declines in Texas, Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee, and West Virginia totaled 4,262 thousand megawatt-hours.
Nuclear generation was down by 2.3 percent and was second only to coal-fired generation in its contribution to the national drop in net generation. The biggest drop in generation at a nuclear plant was at the Millstone facility in Connecticut, which was down for part of the month for a refueling outage.
On the other hand, EIA figures show that renewable energy, including conventional hydropower, increased by 7.3 percent -- reflecting a combined increase of 6.1 percent in conventional hydropower coupled with a 10.0 percent increase in non-hydro renewables (i.e., solar, wind, geothermal, biomass).
In particular, according to EIA, net generation from wind sources was 42.4 percent higher than it had been in November 2007. The higher wind generation totals in Texas, California, Minnesota, and Illinois accounted for 53.1 percent of the national rise.
Conventional hydroelectric power provided 6.4 percent of the U.S.'s total net electricity generation, while other renewables (biomass, geothermal, solar, and wind) and other miscellaneous energy sources generated the remaining 3.1 percent of electric power.
Conventional Hydroelectric Other Renewables
229,168 95,685 (1st 11 months - 2007)
243,220 105,284 (1st 11 months - 2008)
+6.1% +10.0% (change 2008 vs. 2007)
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The data cited above are taken from EIA's latest "Electric Power Monthly" and can be found at: