Milestone Passed – Renewable Energy Overtakes Nuclear Power

Posted by By at 5 July, at 12 : 24 PM Print



For Immediate Release:  Tuesday – July 5, 2011

Contact:  Ken Bossong, 301-270-6477 x.11

Washington DC – According to the most recent issue of the “Monthly Energy Review” by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), renewable energy has passed a milestone as domestic production is now greater than that of nuclear power and is closing in on oil.

During the first quarter of 2011, renewable energy sources (biomass/biofuels, geothermal, solar, water, wind) provided 2.245 quadrillion Btus of energy or 11.73% of U.S. energy production. More significantly, energy production from renewable energy sources in 2011 was 5.65% more than that from nuclear power, which provided 2.125 quadrillion Btus and has remained largely unchanged in recent years. Energy from renewable sources is now 77.15% of that from domestic crude oil production, with the gap closing rapidly.

Looking at all energy sectors (e.g., electricity, transportation, thermal), production of renewable energy, including hydropower, has increased by 15.07% compared to the first quarter of 2010, and by 25.07% when compared to the first quarter of 2009. Among the renewable energy sources, biomass/biofuels accounted for 48.06%, hydropower for 35.41%, wind for 12.87%, geothermal for 2.45%, and solar for 1.16%.

Looking at just the electricity sector, according to the latest issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly,” for the first quarter of 2011, renewable energy sources (biomass, geothermal, solar, water, wind) accounted for 12.94% of net U.S. electrical generation – up from 10.31% during the same period in 2010. Non-hydro renewables accounted for 4.74% of net U.S. electrical generation.

In terms of actual production, renewable electrical output increased by 25.82% in the first three months of 2011 compared to the first quarter of 2010. Solar-generated electricity increased by 104.8%, wind-generated electricity rose by 40.3%, hydropower output expanded by 28.7%, and geothermal electrical generation rose by 5.8%. Only electricity from biomass sources dropped – by 4.8%. By comparison, natural gas electrical output rose by 1.8% and nuclear-generated electricity increased by only 0.4% while coal-generated electricity dropped by 5.7%.

“Notwithstanding the recent nuclear accident in Japan, among many others, and the rapid growth in energy and electricity from renewable sources, congressional Republicans continue to press for more nuclear energy funding while seeking deep cuts in renewable energy investments,” said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “One has to wonder ‘what are these people thinking?’”

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration released its most recent “Monthly Energy Review” on June 28, 2011.  It can be found at:  The relevant charts from which the data above are extrapolated are Tables 1.2 and 10.1.  EIA released its most recent “Electric Power Monthly” on June 9, 2011; see: The relevant charts are Tables ES1.B, and 1.1.A.


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