Renewable Energy Usage Surpasses Nuclear

There are a ton of energy sources.  Some are renewable, some not so renewable.  On the renewable front, we have a bit of good news and a bit of not so good news.  Good news, for the first time, renewable energy usage surpasses nuclear energy.  The not so good news is that renewable electricity still has a way to go.


Let’s cover the good news first.  According to the the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), over the past eight years, renewable energy has slowly inched up to be nearly on par with nuclear energy consumption.

Usage of any type of energy will vary throughout the year due to seasonal factors.  For nuclear power generation, generation dips during spring and fall when nuclear power plants are halted to refuel.  One example with renewable energy is hydropower production.  Output for energy in this case is due to the annual cycle of water availability.

For a short time, late last year, renewable actually surpassed nuclear energy.  One must acknowledge the gradual rise of renewable combined with the seasonal fluctuations for each type of energy.

Energy is mesaured in BTU’s (British Thermal Units.)  At its highest, renewable energy came in near 800 trillion BTU’s.  Nuclear came in around 700 trillion BTU’s.   Although nuclear once again reigned the month after, this is a good sign and positive trend towards renewable energy.

All this sounds great, and it shows but it’s not the whole story.  We still have a ways to go for renewable electricity.  When the term energy is used, it does not necessarily mean electricity.  Energy encompasses what we usually think of as electric power, including hydro, wind, solar, and geothermal. But the term renewable also includes biofuels for transportation or biomass for space heating.  Energy is not just electricity.

Just taking renewable versus nuclear electricity tells a different story.  Yes, there is still a positive trend fro renewable electricity over the past 8 years.  But despite seasonal fluctuations, nuclear electricity has yet to be toppled by renewable electricity.

Electrical generation is measured in megawatts hours.  Even at its apex, renewable electricity came in at 50 million megawatt hours as compared to nuclear electricity lowest at about 55 million megawatt hours.

All in all, there is a positive trend towards renewable alongside nuclear energy and electricity.  For the near future, there will be seasonal battles as to which source trumps the other.  In the long term, let’s hope that our energy sources will come from more and more sustainable sources.

Image Credit: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review 

Jonathan Mariano is an MBA candidate with the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, CA. His interests include the convergence between lean & green and pursuing free-market based sustainable solutions.

7 responses

  1. This is nonsense. Renewables are mostly hydro and burning biomass. Wind and especially solar are trivial compared to nuclear. Plus wind and solar have no capacity value because they are so unpredictable.

  2. Hi Rolf,

    I don’t quite understand how this is nonsense. If we examine the data, I explicit state the difference between energy and electricity. Regardless if you agree with the use of wind and solar or not (or its capacity value for that fact), there is still an increasing trend towards its use.


    1. Take away the subsidies and the wind business goes as quiet as those turbine blades on a muggy summer day, when there isn’t a breath of air. Solar is so small it doesn’t matter. The point is the article tends to exaggerate wind and solar by not pointing out how much of renewables is hydro and biomass.

      1. I’m not sure thats the “point” of the article, but you are correct that the term “renewables” should always be defined and broken out into its components.

        Given the explosive growth of solar and wind recently, I’d be curious to see how much of the slope on that graph is cause be those components (regardless of subsidies).

  3. Geothermal energy is the most reliable renewable energy, as well as the cheapest form of energy available according to California Energy Commission!

    The price of one kilo Watt hour geothermal energy is about eight US cents!

    And the best ally of geothermal energy is the oil industry!


    Take Chevron that began geothermal operations during the 1960s in the western United States by pioneering the development of The Geysers, north of San Francisco, California.

    In the 1970s, two discoveries in the Philippines led to the development of the Tiwi and Makiling-Banahaw (Mak-Ban) geothermal projects on Luzon. We discovered the Salak and Darajat fields on Java in Indonesia during the 1980s and began commercial production in the 1990s.

    The energy from the heat beneath the earth’s surface is essentially an unlimited resource.

    Geothermal energy is a baseload power like hydroelectric, but more reliable and available 24 hours per day and 7 days per week!

    Geothermal energy’s best ally is the oil industry because, once all oil is used, all the oil digs can be easily transformed for geothermal energy generation!

    Nuclear energy generates an asymmetric distribution that causes mass unemployment, reduces the economic growth, contains huge concentration risks, as well as an unlimited number of known and unknown risks and should be phased out on a global scale as soon as humanly possible!

  4. If only we could get the Schools in all Nations to Teach more on Solar, Wind, Geothermal and Renewable Energy.

    When this Old World starts getting you down. From Pollution the cost of OIL,
    Heating Fuel,The Fuel you put in your Vehicles, You Electric Bills from
    cooling air conditioners and lights not to speak of the Evil. The TAX that all
    Governments Federal, State, County and City put on everything they can thing of.
    They are supposed to serve us. Not put a burden on its people. That they are
    elected to serve all the people you, not their own Pocket Books.

    The Wicked keep putting higher taxes on everything. Making it a Heavy
    Burden on many that are already struggling just to put food on the table.
    Too many Americans have lost their home to the tax collector or to foreclosures
    from the unjust bankers greed. More are out of work and lost their homes then
    in the GREAT DEPRESSION,in the last ten years. All Americans and many Nations
    need good jobs and more of them. Not more TAXES and WARS.

    There is a Industry that will employ workers and is growing by more then 50%
    every year. There is a clear way for all up on the roof the Sun Light is free
    fuel from GOD. Some wicked in Government have been backing Coal, Oil, Gas and
    the Nuclear industries for too many years. These kickbacks to them were called
    Subsidizing Industry Technology. Most all Wise Men and smart Economist and
    Environmentalists call this padding their pockets and subsidizing back to the
    Stone Age.

    This might even been funny in the 1960′s. If it were a Fred Flintstones and
    Barny Rubble Movie. About How to aggressively systematically work with the rich
    to Pollute Ground Water quality to the point it is unsafe to drink or use.
    So to they make a law you can only buy water from their pipe line. And to make
    the air we breath full of Toxic Gases, Sulfur Dioxide and more Radioactive
    and Acid Rain. Injuring all living things on Earth.

    With Fred Flintstones to the Rescue. To help create a Healthier Environment.
    For all Future Generations. By spotlighting Renewable Energy and Free Energy
    like Wind and Solar. On his and his neighbor Barny Rubble’s roof. Even though
    the greedy wicked would do everything to stop or slow them down.

    Just imagine a dream that a 100 years ago one of the smartest man to ever
    live had. A dream after working with Sun Light. That all on Earth would use
    Free Energy Solar Energy.

    That Dream also shared by a man that dreamed this over 2,250 years ago.
    Both These men showed the world in their days. That this dream of Free Energy
    Solar Energy World wide was very possible. Both of these two wise men had
    first hand worked and researched their experiments for not just days, weeks
    put for many years.

    One of these men used chalk on Black Board the others board was a black
    stone table or floor covered with white sand and used a stick. One of these
    two Brilliant men had Kings from all most every Kingdom on Earth come to him
    for advice.

    The other went to almost every nation on Earth. Freely on his own dime
    Teaching All that had ears to hear. He would win the Nobel Prize for doing so.
    For his work on Solar Energy. Only after years of doing research and when most
    Scientist on Earth would not take the nomination for the Nobel Prize in 1921 and knew
    it clearly belonged to this Brilliant Scientist, this Brilliant scientist was then awarded it in
    1922 for the 1921 year.

    Now if this was just a Pretend TV Show or a Movie from a dream. This would
    be a great Sci Fi Story Line. In the 1960′s or even better to day. Sci Fi story
    Movie or dream No.

    All that i Have told you did actually really happen. Albert Einstein won the
    Nobel Prize for what? When Government leaders asked him to go on stage. To
    address the Scientific Community and the World. About what he was given the
    Nobel Prize for. When Albert Einstein Had done so. He addressed them with his
    other accomplishments. For years most Governments did not have a ear for
    Einstein’s Dream.

    Archimedes around 250 B.C. was know most of the World over as a great
    Mathematician. One of the first Scientist and Inventor of many things. Even
    the first Laser Ray from the Sun’s Energy. Science Fiction is what you would
    have though you were seeing if you could go back in time, it was real.To day
    we call it The LASER, Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission. Back then it
    was just called Amplification of the SUN, Archimedes Death Ray.

    Thousand of years later it would be a Laser. That Albert Einstein help
    make possible. That would unlock one of the first books on Earth.
    The METHOD written by Archimedes. Then over more then 250 years later. When
    well Faded was cut from a scroll and put into a book form, to be easier to
    hide from the Romans by St. Paul. This book sold for over 2 million dollars.
    In New york at Christie’s Auction House.

    These two are at the top of the list of the World’s Greatest Scientists,
    Viewed by Scientist around the World.

    Sad that for the last 25 years or so of every teacher asked no matter what
    Grade k through 16. At least 80% of them did not know Archimedes. Even sadder 90%
    of them could not tell you what one of the most Brilliant Scientist to ever
    live on Earth. Won the Nobel Prize for.

    It was for the work Albert Einstein did to show the World it could get
    Free Energy, Electric from the SUN. PHOTOVOLTAICS

    You ask this question to any Military general 95% of them will get it right.
    Even more surprising 99% of them will know more about Archimedes then most
    Teachers on Earth. Generals know Energy is the key to Winning.

    At almost one thousand to one Archimedes always won against what all knew was
    impossible odds. Archimedes home town city of Syracuse was victorious against the
    greatest Kingdoms Armies on earth many times. Syracuse once was one of the most
    powerful cities in the World.

    I can only ask you to please look into Solar Energy, Solar Power, Solar Panels
    and Solar array on the internet under Images. To see and explore for your self
    then you be the JURY.

    More then 10 years ago the Internet became most of the World’s Universities
    Learning Platform. A Modern Day Archimedes Resource Center.

    The Solar Energy Industry in the year 2010 has leaped ahead farther and
    faster then any other industry on Earth. The Solar Industry in the
    United States of America alone, has grown by more then 50% in 2010 and
    that number has gone up even higher this year 2011.

    The strong benefits of Solar Energy is Clear Clean Air viewed in major cities
    as improving air quality. Clean Cities. By all that use there brain for good .
    View it as protecting the environment and Freedom from OIL.

    While many Governments has eased the Taxes on Renewable Energy . Some cities in
    the states that these Legislators come from have
    worked against these tax credits.

    By doing so they are showing their true objectives. That they have stock in some
    power plants and do not want to lose all that Money they have been taking out of
    your pocket books for too many years. By taxing you on your Energy Bills. They want
    to Control Power and Tax Everything they can. Not let People be free to get their
    own power from the top of their own roofs.

    By adding their own taxes to them. These wicked leaders think that this will take
    away the incentives to harvest the Free Energy from the Sun.

    The Public ability and awareness for all on Earth to use the Natural Solar Energy,
    is Contributing to Production of Solar Energy Products. Making the Solar
    Energy Industry the fastest growing on Earth. A Wealth of Free Energy From The SUN.

    The more the wicked try to slow the Solar Energy Industry down, it only Enhances
    involvement and the efforts of the Good at Heart.

    through out History Many have tried to wipe the good from our history books.
    Read the Bible Jesus will Bless you more then i can.

    SolarWorld has been presenting a Einstein Award to personalities who have advanced
    the use of solar energy – and helped our Planet Earth.

    We all need to tell all our Teachers and Leaders to use our Nation’s Energy more wisely
    and efficient. Start to Teach all our Young about Renewable Energy Solar, Wind, and so on.

    Not to for get Flintstones, Fred well there are many the one that is in front of all others
    Started back in the 1970′s and started a small catalog that has turned into a Wealth of
    knowledge into Renewable Energy a book called REAL GOODS Solar Living Source Book.
    By Mr. John Schaeffer.

    The world is going more with SOLAR, Wind and Geothermal Powered Energy. Speaking of
    Geothermal Curt Lubben is just one of many sales representatives that has sold over a
    million dollars of Renewable Energy in less then 365 days in the year 2011. The day of the
    need for Dirty Oil and dangerous Nuclear Power are coming to a end fast. The Freedom Element
    Living with Hydrogen That Dr. Addison Bain has showed the world will free most all of the
    need for the Power Grid and Oil CEO’s.

    Very soon most of the world will not need Oil. Renewable Energy like Solar, Wind, Hydro and
    Geothermal are now replacing dirty Energy like Oil. Solar Energy is growing World Wide at a
    record pace.
    Hybrid Cars are being sold all over the Earth. Soon Hybrid Vehicles that run on Electric /
    Hydrogen, The Freedom Element. Will free the world from Oil. Thanks to a Great Scientist
    Dr. Addison Bain’s Years of work for our Nation and with the Space Program on Hydrogen.

    The day will come when many will see Solar Panels on most everything. What Free Electric
    the sun makes will be used to split water into Hydrogen. The Hydrogen will be used to heat
    our homes and to cook on and put into are Hybrid Vehicles that will run on
    (The Freedom Element). Very soon most all will be filling up their Vehicles at Home.
    Free from the Sun’s Solar Energy. Just as Dr.Addison Bain has done for years the fist Hydrogen
    home refueling Station in the World. That Dr. Addison Bain built by his self.

    GOD Bless you for reading this.
    May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
    Light up your world and warm your Heart this Christmas.

    The Lord’s Little Helper
    Paul Felix Schott

Leave a Reply