Renewable generation hit an all-time high in the first half of 2021


Thanks to declines in production and consumption of nuclear power and fossil fuels, and a continually strong market for renewable resources, U.S. production of renewable energy (biofuels, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) reached an all-time high in the first six months of this year, according to new data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its most recent Monthly Energy Review report, and analyzed by the SUN DAY Campaign, a non-profit research and educational organization focused on the promotion of sustainable energy technologies.

The data contained in the report, which is current through June 30, reveals that renewable sources accounted for 12.91% of the U.S. energy produced and 12.71% of the energy consumed for electricity, transportation, heating, and other uses.

This growth has been driven in large part by solar and wind, as hydropower, geothermal, and biomass all experienced year-over-year declines in production. Wind, solar, and biofuels saw their shares of production grow 10%, 24%, and 1.8%, respectively.

With this new growth accounted for, wind is now the largest single renewable energy source, accounting for 27.78% of total U.S. renewable energy output, followed by biomass at 21.28%, hydropower at 19.84%, biofuels at 17.11%, solar at 12.32%, and geothermal at 1.67%.

For non-renewable resources, the first half of the year was not as inspiring. Production by the nation’s nuclear power plants in 2021 dropped by 2.81% and 4.07% compared to 2020 and 2019 levels. Meanwhile the energy supplied by the mix of fossil fuels also declined by 1.67% and 5.57% respectively, but still accounted for 78.69% of total domestic production and 78.83% of U.S. energy consumption. Fossil fuel consumption during the first half of 2021 increased by 6.50% compared to the same period in 2020, largely attributed to first half 2020 energy use being lower during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of the first half of the year, energy provided by renewable sources has exceeded nuclear generation by more than 50%.

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