Daily Management Review

U.S. EIA Reports Increase In Renewables And Decrease Of Fossil Fuel For Power In 2017


U.S. EIA Reports Increase In Renewables And Decrease Of Fossil Fuel For Power In 2017
There was a total reduction of 1.5 per cent in the total U.S. net electricity generation in 2017 which is reflective of lesser use of electricity by Americans throughout the year according to a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
On the other hand, the report also claimed that while there was a small drop in generation of electricity in the U.S. from coal and natural gases, the energy sector in the country saw a rise in the generation of electricity from renewable sources and specifically from solar energy in 2017.
Record share in the total electricity generated was noted by both wind and utility-scale solar electricity generation where 6.3 per cent increase was accorded to wind while 1.3 per cent increase was noted for solar, according to data available in the EIA's Electric Power Monthly.
In 2017, about 4.7 GWs of utility-scale solar photovoltaic and almost 6.3 gigawatts (GW) of wind turbines were added to the country’s power generation infrastructure. 
On the other hand, there was also an increase in the electricity generation from hydroelectric sources which accounted for 7.5 per cent of the total net generation in 2017 in the U.S.
It being expected that in 2018, the electricity generation capacity of hydro sources would surpass that of wind generation, according to the EIA's latest Short-Term Energy Outlook. However, the report also expects wind power to gain more importance and dominance in the gamut of renewable power generation scenario in the country in 2019
A smile on the faces of environmentalists in the country and elsewhere, especially in wake of the President Donald Trump’s pledge to revive the U.S. coal industry – most of which are used in generation of power, could be brought by another bit of data from the report. The report claimed that in 2017, use of coal and natural gas for generation of electricity fell by 2.5 per cent and 7.7 per cent respectively compared to their usage in 2016. It is being estimated that this reduction of use of fossil fuels for power generation was a direct impact of increase in electricity generation from renewable energy sources – with specific contributions from hydro, wind, and solar power sources, all of which saw an increase in 2017 compared to the previous year.
The use of natural gas in 2017 saw the largest annual decrease on record as the power generated form that power source - the gas-fired electricity generation saw a drop of 105 billion kilowatts. This, despite the fact that natural gas continued to be the most widely used fuel for electricity generation for the third consecutive year in 2017.
Additionally, 2017 was the first year since 2008 that the U.S. energy industry saw the combined decline in the power generated from both natural gas-fired and coal-fired electricity units even though the rate of decrease of coal-fired electricity was much less than use of natural gas.