Renewables Beat Nuclear in Output

July 13, 2011

Expect to  hear more furious, spittle flecked rants about “expensive” renewable energy. Reason? We’re winning.

LA Times:

Renewable sources in the U.S. are starting to produce enough energy to rival oil output, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.

Biomass and biofuels along with geothermal, solar, water and wind-power generation were responsible for nearly 12% of the country’s energy production during the first quarter of the year. That’s nearly 6% more than nuclear’s output and 77% of the amount coming from domestic crude oil, the agency said.

Electricity from wind sources is up 40% from the same period last year, according to the agency. Solar output more than doubled.

The boom is especially evident in California, where the rate of installations for rooftop solar energy systems is on a tear, according to the California Public Utilities Commission.

Homes, businesses, nonprofits and government agencies in the state put in a record 194 megawatts of new solar capacity last year — 47% more than the amount installed in 2009.

Ars technica:

Plunging prices and booming investments are beginning to reshape the energy market, according to a couple of reports that were released this week. A report produced on behalf of Bloomberg says that investments in renewable energy have gone up by roughly a third over the last year, to $211 billion. Led by China’s renewable push, the world is now on a trajectory that will see its investments in renewable electricity surpass those in fossil fuels within a year or two. As a result of these investments, the US is now producing more renewable energy than nuclear power.

Any way you look at things, the numbers make it clear just how significant renewables have become. Excluding hydropower, renewables made up about 35 percent of the power capacity added worldwide last year, and produced over five percent of the total power. Investments directed toward this new capacity (excluding things like mergers) hit $187 billion, and are closing in fast on the spending on fossil fuel power plants, cutting the gap in spending to $31 billion, down from $74 billion. At that pace, we’ll be investing more in renewables either this year or next.

Part of the reason is cost. Although wind turbines are very mature technology now, their cost per MW still fell by 18 percent over the last two years; photovoltaics have dropped a staggering 60 percent in that time. “Further improvements in the levelised cost of energy for solar, wind and other technologies lie ahead, posing a bigger and bigger threat to the dominance of fossil-fuel generation sources in the next few years,” according to the report’s authors.

3 Responses to “Renewables Beat Nuclear in Output”

  1. pmagn Says:

    Dr Helen Caldicott – Fukushima Nuclear Disaster- You won’t hear this on the Main Stream News.
    Nuclear Facts you’d be more comfortable not knowing from a very clued up professional who will not be bought or intimidated into silence: Dr Helen Caldicott,…

  2. Flat screen achieved sales parity with CRT’s in 2008. That was a TV tipping point.

    According to a recent Worldwatch Institute report, beginning in 2009, the United States and Europe have both added more power capacity from renewables than from coal, gas, and nuclear combined. Worldwide, renewables accounted for one-third of new generating capacity. Maybe we’re at an energy tipping point.

  3. BlueRock Says:

    > Expect to hear more furious, spittle flecked rants about “expensive” renewable energy. Reason? We’re winning.

    The inexorable march of reality. They don’t like it one little bit. Although, I still can’t get my head around how there *appears* to be so many people who are apoplectic at the thought of clean, safe, never-ending energy. I swear there are two species of humans, even if we all look similar.

    Sign o’ the times:

    * France includes nuclear power exit among options. Poll shows three quarters of French want full exit.

    Of course, that’s not going to happen any time soon given how deep the French are stuck in their nuclear pit – but the very fact that they are debating it is a rather large clue to anyone not of the wingnut persuasion….

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