Nuclear power falls behind

SUBHEAD: Renewable energy now provides more electricity in USA than nuclear power plants. By Matthew McDermott on 6 January 2012 for TreeHugger - ( Image above: View from downstream of Glen Canyon Dam. From original article.

The latest figures from the Energy Information Agency are out on US sources of energy through September 30th, 2011, with some impressive gains for renewable energy. Through the first nine months of the year renewables produced just under 12% of US energy—an increase of just over one percent from 2010—while nuclear power produced about 10.6%.

Renewable energy as a whole grew 14.4% in 2011 compared to the previous year. As of the end of September, hydropower produced 4.35% of US power, biomass 3.15%, biofuels 2.57%, wind power 1.45%. Geothermal and solar power both came in at under 1% (0.29% and 0.15% respectively).

The increase over nuclear is certainly noteworthy, and headline worthy, but more than anything it still shows how far we have to go in developing a society powered by non-polluting energy sources—as well as giving some important context when considering statements about the growth of renewable energy year-over-year made by industry trade associations. Yes, there's been some strong growth lately, and yes the solar power industry is doing far better than some pundits would have you believe, but wow, we've got a long road ahead.


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