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Despite all the noise about renewable energy sources — solar, biomass, wind, geothermal, and hydropower — not yet being ready for prime time, Yale University points out that all of the additional electricity-generating capacity added in the US in November came from renewable energy sources. Lest you think that was a fluke, in October 99% was from renewable sources.

Over the entire year, natural gas (which has dropped in price significantly due to the use of fracking) has accounted for 52% of added capacity, but solar accounts for 21%. Renewable sources now account for 15.9% of the total US electricity generating capacity, which is more than nuclear and oil combined.



  1. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    Well since we’re no allowed to build nuclear, or oil plants and coal and natural gas are restricted it only make sense that renewables are leading the way. Engineering a race where the winner is determined before it starts is an easy way to say see I told you they’d win.
    I’m not against renewables, and they certainly have their part to play in reducing our dependence on non renewable sources, but the current technology will not replace them. At least not while everyone who is alive now is still alive. And by the time they pass on, our energy consumption will have risen 5-10 times above what it is now.
    Oil is not the way, coal is not the way, natural gas can help, but eventually it will run out. Nuclear whether thorium or other, AND renewables will be the only way to power our planet.

    Monday, December 23, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    Why are you convinced that renewable energy won’t replace fossil fuels in our lifetime? You have never given a good reason for that argument. Tesla has shown that Detroit and Japan totally blew it on electric cars (and they are working on a much cheaper version). I’m relatively old, but I can totally see our energy future completely based on renewables (plus small distributed thorium reactors) in my lifetime. Why the hell not?

    And if our government is indeed engineering a race so renewables will win, then good on them!!! Unfortunately, I don’t think this is the case. Solar is winning because of cheap Chinese photovoltaic panels, not anything we did.

    Monday, December 23, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink
  3. David Freeman wrote:

    I think it is amazing that renewables total 15.9% DESPITE the government subsidies that tilt towards fossil fuels far more than renewables.

    Monday, December 23, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Permalink
  4. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    OK – while your numbers seem impressive and indeed I am glad to see an increase in renewable sources, they don’t tell the real story.

    Here is the latest real data on Solar:
    photovoltaic cell conversion to electricity – is far and away the smallest, accounting for about 0.1 percent of the net electricity produced in the United States in 2012.

    About 9 percent of all energy consumed in the United States in 2012 was from renewable sources and this includes:
    •Hydropower 30%
    •Biomass Wood 22%
    •Biomass Waste 5%
    •Biomass Biofuels 22%
    •Wind 15%
    •Geothermal 3%
    •Solar 2%

    The renewable share of total world energy consumption is expected to rise from 10.2 percent in 2008 to 14.2 percent in 2035.

    While that IS GREAT NEWS for renewables about 80% of the rest of the worlds usage of energy comes from coal fired plants. That coal burning is driving CO2 increases. As the worlds demand for more energy increase to triple what it is now in just 20 years, without a real replacement for coal we will have catastrophic consequences for our environment. Renewables and especially solar cannot replace that energy need I the foreseeable future. Nuclear doesn’t emit CO2 and is the only viable choice. Why can’t an intelligent man like yourself see this?

    You can see thru this link, I don’t make this stuff up:

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink
  5. Iron Knee wrote:

    OMG, now I understand where you are getting all this crap. The IER (Institute for Energy Research) is run by a former speechwriter for Ken Lay at Enron. IER also has a political arm, the American Energy Alliance, which is run by a former lobbyist for Koch Industries (which has also funded IER). They claim to be a “grassroots” organization, but they refuse to reveal their donor list. IER/AEA are on record promoting the Keystone XL pipeline, supporting climate deniers, and fighting against renewable energy tax credits.

    You sir have been astroturfed. You may not make this stuff up, but you don’t have to. They are making it up for you.

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Permalink
  6. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    Thanks IK, I will dissect it more carefully. Who knew everything on the internet wasn’t true.

    Merry Christmas my friend

    Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 9:29 am | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    PSgt, I’m so glad you are an active commenter here. You keep me questioning the things I believe in and say. I hope I’m not too harsh on you.

    Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 11:56 am | Permalink
  8. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    After the things I’ve seen and been through in some far away lands, there’s not too much chance that a conversation could send me running. It’s also exactly why I come here, to check my thinking and see if I’m considering all the information available.

    Thursday, December 26, 2013 at 8:59 am | Permalink
  9. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    And to that end IK, I tried to find some other sources for the same information and found this link to a University of Michigan study:

    There number aren’t very different from the IER data.

    This one from has data from 2009 showing that production has increased slightly

    The following data is from the NREL.Gov site

    Since 2000, cumulative renewable electricity* installations in the United States have nearly
    doubled, and in 2012 they represented 163 GW of installed U.S. capacity.
    • Installed renewable electricity capacity has grown at a compound annual growth rate CAGR) of nearly 4.8% per year from 2000 to 2012.
    • U.S. renewable electricity in 2012 was 14% of total overall installed electricity capacity and 12.4 % of total annual generation in the United States.
    • Every renewable electricity technology added capacity in 2012. U.S. drought conditions may have caused generation from hydropower to decrease, resulting in an overall drop in electricity generation from renewable technologies in 2012.
    • During the timeframe of 2008 to 2012, the United States doubled renewable electricity generation from a combination of wind, solar and geothermal technologies.
    For 2012 Total % of renewable sources production
    Hydropower 6.8%
    Solar 0.3%
    Wind 3.4%
    Geotherma l0.4%
    Biomass 1.4%
    Total Renewables 2.4%

    So the official Gov’t numbers a in the same ball park. Why they don’t all marry up I’m not sure.
    Their site gives a very comprehensive analysis of the US’s renewable energy production.

    Thursday, December 26, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink
  10. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    OK here is a link to what I think is the ultimate source for accurate information for the US Energy Information Administration, although you have to dig in to get apples to apples comparisons. It covers the worlds energy production and use.

    There is a table accessible that shows CO2 emissions world wide and the US is declining while countries like China are at double our emissions. Non OECD countries contribute far more CO2 then OECD countries.

    I still think that Nuclear would be a faster way to reduce our carbon footprint VS only utilizing renewables at the current time. Sure we can keep adding renewables but to meet the worlds demand we need nuclear solutions.

    Thursday, December 26, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink
  11. Iron Knee wrote:

    I totally agree with you that nuclear energy has a big role to play in our energy plans, and in reducing our carbon footprint.

    Thursday, December 26, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink