EIA report: Renewable electricity generation reaches new highs in 2016

Published on August 29, 2016 by Jessica Limardo

Monthly U.S. renewable electricity generation from hydroelectric and non-hydroelectric renewables in 2016 is higher than all previous years, according to the Electric Power Monthly report, issued by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday.

The EIA’s report found that renewable electricity generation levels were higher than previous years every month in 2016 from January through June. Both hydroelectric and non-hydroelectric renewable generation were considered. The EIA found hydro generation to be close to historically high levels.

The report observed non-hydroelectric sources, including wind, geothermal, biomass and solar generation from larger utility-scale facilities with a generating capacity of 1 megawatt or more. Contributions made by distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) installations on residential rooftops were also considered. Hydro and wind facilities with less than a generating capacity of 1 megawatt were less common than PV installations, and were not considered.

The report found annual hydro generation last year to be at the lowest levels since 2007, due to drought conditions along the West Coast during the year, with California, Oregon and Washington housing approximately 50 percent of the nation’s convention hydro capacity. The EIA report cited the drought as the reason for low hydro levels.

The report also found that non-hydro renewable generation has increased steadily each year.