July 14, 2012

US Renewables hit 5%

The U.S. generated 5 percent of the country's annual electricity from renewable sources, between April 2011 and March 2012, according to preliminary data from the Energy Information Administration.
To be exact, the U.S. generated 204 terawatt-hours ('TWh") out of 4,070 TWh from non-hydro renewables.
Putting this annual total of non-hydro renewable generation in context, this is:
  • More than the individual electrical usage of 197 nations (92 percent of all nations), including Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey, and Thailand. 
  • More than the combined electrical usage of the Philippines, Switzerland, and Malaysia.
  • Enough electrical energy to power about 16 million American homes, deducting about 10 percent for transmission and distribution losses.
How are we doing compared to other countries?  
Germany has about 20 percent annual renewable power generation, which can result in greater than 50 percent of electrical energy from just solar PV for short durations.
Sweden, Portugal, Finland, Spain, and Denmark also have non-hydro renewable power penetration well above the U.S..
In Asia, China is now experiencing very aggressive renewable power growth rates and indeed is ahead of the U.S. with the most non-hydro renewable power capacity installed
What is the takeaway? 

Renewable power has become a mainstream source of power that will increasingly challenge existing electricity generation and provision business models, particularly as distributed solutions (electric vehicles, demand response, PV, etc.) take off.

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