GHG Emissions, Solar, Sourcing Renewables, Wind  -  February 19, 2018

RE hits 18% of total U.S. power mix

Renewable energy generation increased to 18% of total electricity for the U.S. in 2017, up from 15% the previous year. New wind and solar builds, along with an easing drought in the West, combined to boost this increase, according to the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook.

The Factbook, produced by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, reported that "renewable deployment grew at a near-record pace." Among the milestones achieved:  

  • U.S. GHG emissions declined to a 25-year low
  • Renewable generation jumped 14% to an estimated 717 TWh
  • 4GW of new renewable builds were added, second only to 2016’s record of 22.7GW
  • Builds in renewable sectors other than wind and solar, including biomass, biogas, geothermal, and hydro, continued to stall due to a lack of long-term policy support.
  • U.S. sales of electric vehicles jumped by 23% to more than 194,000 units in 2017. EVs accounted for 1.1% of new vehicle sales for the year.

Noting that the U.S. economy grew by 2.3% in 2017 while electricity consumption declined by 2.6%, the Factbook said, "energy productivity and GDP growth both accelerated, demonstrating that the U.S. economy can grow at a reasonable rate even as total energy consumption actually declines."

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