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article imageSurge in wind power set to surpass hydroelectric power in U.S.

By Karen Graham     Jan 30, 2019 in Environment
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its Short term energy outlook for 2019 this month - and it's good news for the U.S. electrical grid. even as coal-fired power plants decline.
According to numbers reported in the EIA report, in 2019, a surge in wind power is set to surpass the nation's longstanding renewable mainstay, hydroelectric power.
Hydroelectric power generation - a renewable energy source, has been around for at least 100 years, but it is also seeing slow growth due to permitting restrictions and protections of wildlife. In 2017, hydro made up 7.4 percent of total electrical generation. Hydropower was 7.0 percent of total generation in 2018 and EIA forecasts that it will be about the same in 2019 and in 2020.
As for solar power, the EIA estimates about 5 gigawatts (GW) of utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity will be added in 2019 and 6 GW will be added in 2020. The EIA expects nearly 9 GW of small-scale solar PV capacity to be installed during 2019–20, mostly in the residential sector.
Solar power accounted for 1.3 percent of total electricity generation, which is expected to reach about 1.7 percent by 2020, according to Green Car Reports.
Hoover Dam seen from Hoover Dam Bypass. Notice the  bathtub ring  on deposits around the shoreline o...
Hoover Dam seen from Hoover Dam Bypass. Notice the "bathtub ring" on deposits around the shoreline of Lake Mead.
Adam Kliczek,
Wind power will soar
The EIA report says it expects a total of 10.9 GW of wind capacity to come online nationally in 2019, most of it near the end of the year. Three states — Texas, Iowa, and Illinois — will be home to over half of the wind capacity additions for the year. This means wind capacity is expected to increase from 96 GW at the end of 2018 to 107 GW at the end of 2019 and to 114 GW by the end of 2020.
The Caller-Times reports that Scott Dunaway, of Powering Texas, a wind energy advocate coalition that started in December said, "Wind power has become an invaluable tool in the rural economic development space in Texas."
Dunaway added, the industry is "creating jobs and generating revenue streams for rural Texans that strengthen our communities and provide needed economic opportunities for landowners and local school districts."
(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 04  2018  solar panels are mounted atop the roof of th...
(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 04, 2018, solar panels are mounted atop the roof of the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California
Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions
After increasing by 2.8 percent in 2018, the EIA forecasts that energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will decrease by 1.2 percent in 2019 and further decrease by 0.8 percent in 2020.
Keep in mind that CO2 emissions are sensitive to changes in the weather, economic growth, energy prices, and fuel mix. In 2018 the winter was colder and the summer hotter than in 2017, and the economy grew by almost 3 percent - contributing to higher CO2 emissions.
The agency goes on to say that if the weather returns to something closer to normal and economic growth moderates, then we should see a decline in CO2 emissions. But a lot is riding on this prediction.
More about Renewable energy, energy information agency, Wind power, hydroelectric power, increase 30 percent
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