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article imageRenewable energy outpaced nuclear for first time since 1984

By Karen Graham     Jul 10, 2017 in Environment
For the first time in decades, the renewable energy sector generated more electrical power in the United States than nuclear power in March and April this year.
We are talking about utility-scale electricity generation and renewable resources have certainly held up to their promise of supplying clean, carbon-free, and affordable power.
And we can date this first-time event all the way back to 1984, when Ronald Regan was president, and "When Doves Cry" was the No. 1 hit on the radio, according to Green Tech Media.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Thursday that electricity production from utility-scale renewable sources exceeded nuclear generation in the most recent months for which data is available, meaning March and April.
The increase includes both seasonal and a growing trend in the overall growth of renewables in the U.S. as well as maintenance and refueling schedules for nuclear plants, which usually undergo maintenance during the spring and fall months.
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U.S. Energy Information Administration
According to Fortune, the renewables growth has been spurred on by the scores of new wind and solar farms across the nation, as well as the recent increase in hydropower brought on by heavy snows and rain in the western states this past winter. Also, fully 60 percent of all utility-scale electrical generation capacity that came online last year was from solar and wind sources.
The rate of construction of new nuclear plants has actually fallen in recent decades, primarily due to soaring high costs and continuing public opposition to nuclear power. It should also be noted that most of our nuclear plants were built between 1970 and 1990, and many utility companies are in the process of retiring a number of the plants.
Basically, the EIA forecasts that nuclear power generation will pick up again during the summer months and nuclear power will generate more electricity than renewables for the year as a whole, even though nuclear power generation has remained flat at 19 percent of the country's total generating capacity.
Here's one other sobering fact to digest - coal and natural gas combined still accounted for 65 percent of electrical power generation in 2016. However, the EIA projects an increase of 8.0 percent and 40 percent in wind and solar utility-scale generation, respectively, in 2017.
More about Renewable energy, Nuclear energy, electrical generation, 1984, utilityscale
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