HomeNewsUtility-scale wind rushes to 11% of U.S. energy mix

Utility-scale wind rushes to 11% of U.S. energy mix

According to the latest data, net electricity generation for November shows that utility-scale wind and solar were the highest risers, while coal, gas and nuclear fell.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s newly released Electric Power Report details how all of the nearly 302 million MWh were generated in November and compared to the same period in 2019. These are the combined outputs from both electric utilities and independent power producers.

Read more
Global corporate clean energy purchasing up 18% in 2020
Wood Mackenzie reveals energy sector’s top ten trends in 2021

Utility-scale wind and solar power both rose 35% compared to outputs from November 2019. Wind generated 33.8 million MWh, while solar totaled almost 5.9 million MWh during the most recent month available, according to the EIA.

That snapshot shows utility-scale wind farms are generating 11% of the U.S. net electricity mix. Solar is at nearly 2%, according to the EIA data.

Coal-fired power fell 19% year over year, to 61.3 million MWh for November. This represents 20% of the U.S. net mix.

Nuclear power, which is still the No. 1 carbon-free generation resource, totaled 61.7 million MWh for a 3.7% decrease from the period one year earlier. Nuclear was 20.5% of the U.S. net generation mix, according to the EIA data.

Natural gas still rules the American electricity sector, as it has for several years now. Even so, gas-fired generation fell nearly 9% year over year for November, to 107.8 million MWh, the EIA shows.

Gas-fired power plants accounted for 36% of the U.S. net generation mix in November.

Conventional hydroelectric power plants generated 22 million MWh during the same period, a 9% increase over November 2019, according to the EIA. This represents hydro (excluding pumped storage) as 7.3% of the U.S. net generation mix at that point in time.

The data also clearly shows the rising importance of utility-scale wind power in the mix, driven primarily project developments outside the traditional utility structure. Independent power producers accounted for more than 80% of the utility-scale wind generation in November, the EIA reported.

Taken together, the carbon-free generation resources wind, solar, nuclear and hydro are now about 40% of the U.S. generation mix.

Wood, geothermal and biomass were the other primary generation resources for that month although only about 2% of the mix altogether, according to the EIA. Hydro pumped storage net generation fell 27% year over year.

Originally published on power-eng.com