SUN DAY Campaign reports biomass use up by 1.6 percent.
According to an analysis by the nonprofit group SUN DAY Campaign, reported in the latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) Electric Power Monthly, with preliminary data through to Dec. 31, 2012, nonhydro renewable sources, which includes biomass, geothermal, solar and wind, increased by 12.8 percent last year compared to 2011 and provided 5.4 percent of net U.S. electrical generation.
The report notes that solar power increased by 138.9 percent, while wind power grew 16.6 percent, geothermal increased 9.6 percent and biomass (i.e., wood, wood-derived fuels, and other biomass) increased 1.6 percent. Moreover, since 2007, nonhydro renewables have more than doubled their contribution to the nation's electrical supply.
At the same time (2012 compared with 2011), total net U.S. electrical generation dropped by 1.1 percent with petroleum coke and liquids down by 24.1 percent, coal by 12.5 percent and nuclear by 2.6 percent. Coal, which a decade ago provided more than half the nation's electricity, fell to 37.4 percent of net electrical generation, while nuclear, for the first time in many years, dropped below 19 percent. Conventional hydropower also declined by 13.4 percent due to 2012’s drought and lower water flows, but natural gas expanded by 21.4 percent to provide 30.3 percent of net electrical generation.
Conventional hydropower and non-hydro renewable sources combined accounted for 12.22 percent of net U.S. electrical generation: hydropower - 6.82 percent, wind - 3.46 percent, biomass - 1.42 percent, geothermal - 0.41 percent, and solar - 0.11 percent. However, as EIA has noted in the past, these figures do not comprehensively reflect distributed, non-grid connected generation and understate the full contribution of renewables to the nation's electrical supply.
EIA's report also reveals the top renewable-electricity generating states for 2012:
- Top five hydropower states: Washington, Oregon, California, New York, Idaho;
- Top five nonhydro renewables states: Texas, California, Iowa, Minnesota, Oklahoma;
- Top five wind states: Texas, Iowa, California, Oklahoma, Illinois;
- Top five biomass states: California, Florida, Maine, Georgia, Alabama;
- Top five geothermal states: California, Nevada, Utah, Hawaii, Idaho; and
- Top five solar states: California, Arizona, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico.
Technical advances, falling costs, and the desire to address climate change have combined to rapidly expand the contribution of renewable energy to the nation's electrical generation,” says Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “With the right policy incentives, one can foresee these cleaner energy sources providing the bulk of the nation's electrical needs within a generation.”
The SUN DAY Campaign is a nonprofit research and educational organization founded in 1993 to promote sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels.