A enterprise group geared towards sustainable power says renewable sources of power for the primary time are producing almost as a lot energy as all the fleet of U.S. nuclear reactors.

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE), together with Bloomberg New Energy Finance, on February 15 launched the sixth version of its Sustainable Energy in America Factbook. The report says energy technology from renewables contributes 18% of the nation’s electrical energy manufacturing, helped by continued progress in wind and photo voltaic installations, and a rise in hydropower, significantly within the western U.S.

The report’s abstract notes, “Renewables achieved new heights partly on account of a rebound in hydro as reservoir ranges on the West Coast recovered after a extreme, extended drought. At the  identical time, a chart-busting variety of wind and photo voltaic initiatives inbuilt 2016 had their first full yr of operation in 2017, bolstering non-hydro renewable technology by 15%.”

The report says the nation’s 99 nuclear reactors, situated at 61 working vegetation in 30 states, produce about 19% of all U.S. electrical energy. The Trump administration’s current funds proposal for the 2018-19 fiscal yr helps nuclear and coal-fired technology, and cuts funding for renewables.

The BCSE’s membership contains dozens of producers, renewable power and pure fuel business commerce teams, and utilities equivalent to National Grid and Pacific Gas & Electric.

The report says 18 GW of renewable power got here on-line in 2017, calling it “one other growth yr for renewables construct” on the heels of 22.7 GW of latest photo voltaic and wind technology in 2016. The report additionally says renewables’ share of the U.S. power portfolio has been helped by a slight decline in pure gas-fired technology, which fell from 34% in 2016 to 32% in 2017, in accordance with the group. However, the report says pure fuel will proceed to guide the U.S. technology combine, noting extra pure gas-fired items got here on-line in 2017 than in any yr since 2005.

Continued low costs for pure fuel proceed to make it cost-advantaged for energy turbines, significantly in opposition to coal. Vitaliy Krasko, an power market analyst for DrillingInfo, just lately advised POWER, “Overall we count on fuel demand from the facility sector to extend this yr in comparison with final. One driver of that’s our expectation of decrease costs.” Krasko additionally stated “Company bulletins point out about 12 GW of coal [generation is] set to retire this yr and one other 1.2 GW is switching fuels.”

Krasko famous retirements of coal vegetation in Texas—greater than 5 GW of technology is predicted to go offline over the subsequent yr— are “unprecedented.” The state is also experiencing robust progress in wind technology; a University of Texas evaluation final fall confirmed wind technology capability could have already got surpassed coal-fired capability within the state.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) newest figures for U.S. energy technology, primarily based on 2016 knowledge, confirmed pure fuel produced 33.eight% of U.S. energy that yr, adopted by coal-fired technology at 30.four%, with nuclear at 19.7%, and renewables—together with hydropower, wind, biomass, photo voltaic, and geothermal—at 14.9%.

The BCSE report says, “Overall, renewables have contributed 55% of complete [power generation] construct previously 10 years. Non-hydro renewables continued to signify the most important share of all U.S. new installations, hitting roughly 62% in 2017.”

The report additionally notes that, “Greater power effectivity and the continued availability of low-cost fuels seemingly contributed to retaining electrical energy prices a modest a part of complete client expenditures. Spending on pure fuel additionally remained muted, as customers directed slightly below zero.four% of their outlays to this useful resource, just like 2016 ranges.”

Darrell Proctor is a POWER affiliate editor (@DarrellProctor1, @POWERmagazine)

The publish Growth in Renewables Matching U.S….

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