Renewables Climb, Slowly but Surely, As Coal Retreats

Renewable Energy StatisticsNon-hydroelectric renewable energy from wind, solar and biomass provided 3.7% of America’s energy needs this year through April, up from 3.1% for the same period last year, according to the Electric Power Monthly, a newsletter released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
That figure surpasses a goal of generating 3% of the nation’s energy from renewables by 2013 in a version of the Waxman-Markey climate bill now in the Senate. The House passed a version of the bill on June 26 that calls for a 6% minimum by 2012, although there are loopholes in the legislation.

Winds of Change
Wind power generation led the jump in renewables: turbines contributed 34.9% more electricity through April than for the same period in 2008. Solar power, while contributing more megawatts in absolute terms, was down 8.1%.
Combined with hydroelectric power, renewables contributed 10.7% of electric power through April. Coal, which provides 46.1% of all electrical power in the U.S., was down 12.2%.
“Month after month, the hard data refutes those who continue to falsely claim that renewable energy accounts for only a minute fraction of the nation’s electricity supply,” said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign, a non-profit sustainable energy foundation.
Due to the economic slump, overall electrical generation was down 5% from April of 2008 to April of this year.

BC (Ben) Upham is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. He has written for the New York Times, and was a writer and editor for News Communications, Inc., a local paper consortium serving Manhattan. When he's not blogging on green issues -- and especially renewable energy -- he's hiking in the Angeles Mountains or hanging out at El Matador.