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Renewables lead in 2019 for new generation capacity, however, fossil fuels continue to generate more electricity

image credit: © Mingis |

The main group of renewable energy generators—solar, wind, biomass, hydropower and geothermal—led in new generation capacity created in 2019.

According to a later 2019 report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, renewable sources saw an 8,784 MW increase in new generating capacity through November 2019, which is 8% more than the combination of new capacity created for natural gas, oil, coal and nuclear.

This puts numbers to a trend of which we’re widely aware: investments into new energy generation projects are being won by renewables. The future for renewable energy appears brighter than it does for oil, coal and natural gas. However, when it comes to actual energy generation, fossil fuels continue to lead in total energy generated in the United States. Renewables only accounted for 18.2% of total energy generated by November 2019, while coal alone produced 23.4% of the country’s electricity.

Renewables being responsible for the lion’s share of electricity generated in the United States still appears to be a long way out, but progress continues. The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts renewables to account for 22% of total electricity generation by 2021.

Of course, that remains less than coal alone produced in 2019. With continued increases in generation capacity, and advancements in storage so we can use renewable electricity on cloudy, still days, renewables path toward electricity work horse may happen sooner than we all predict.

Christopher Neely's picture

Thank Christopher for the Post!

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Rupam Wani's picture
Rupam Wani on Jan 21, 2020 4:51 pm GMT

Very good analysis Christopher!

Humans are very confusing because they are using coal and oil to generate electricity in case of steam power plant. hence, if someone says that electrification will help in reducing pollution. then we should definitely ask him if he is excluding steam powerplants. because electrification is a great vision but it is not possible in a single year. and we cant wait in the hope of 100% electrification. as because maximum damage is already done to our environment now its urgent need to focus on quick replacements of diesel and petrol. because it is the fuel of maximum growth of human. as per my research, I would suggest biodiesel as the most effective and cheaper replacement of diesel.

I am very happy that renewable energy is getting very much focus and has a bright future as per your analysis. but still, I think that extra focus is the urgent need.

Mark Silverstone's picture
Mark Silverstone on Jan 29, 2020 4:01 pm GMT

This article provides some heartening news/predictions about renewables costs.


The question is, can renewables be substituted for the planned gigantic increases in coal use in Asia?



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