EIA expects data to reflect nearly half of utility-scale electric installations in 2017 sported renewable tech

Published on January 11, 2018 by Chris Galford

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In all, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that almost half of the new utility-scale electric generating capacity to have come online last year did so with the use of renewable technology.

The EIA expects about 25 gigawatts (GW) to have come from these sources, largely among wind and solar generation. An additional 3.5 GW of smaller scale solar additions also likely entered the grid in 2017. The majority of all these additions came in the fourth quarter of the year, likely tied to qualifications for federal, state and local tax incentives.

Though these numbers are subject to change, monthly renewable U.S. electricity generation saw a peak of 67.5 billion kilowatt hours back in March 2017–more than a fifth of the utility-scale electricity generation. March also marked the first time monthly generation from wind and solar crossed 10 percent of total generation in the United States. From March through May, renewable sourced generation also surpassed nuclear generation for the first time since July 1984.

Most renewably sourced energy in 2017 came from the Western census division, though, which holds both the majority in hydroelectric and solar generation. Wind generation use was spread throughout the country.