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Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

U.S. Renewable Electricity Grows 14.7%

as Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Fall

For first three-quarters of 2017, Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) data show:

  • Renewable electrical production up 14.7%
  • Biomass, geothermal, hydro, solar, and wind energy all increase
  • Coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear power all decrease
  • Renewables provide 17.8% of total U.S. generation as solar reaches 2% and wind is 6%

According to the latest issue of the U.S. EIA “Electric Power Monthly” report (with data through September 30, 2017), U.S. electrical generation from renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar – including distributed solar, wind) rose by 14.69% during the first three-quarters of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.

Simultaneously, electrical generation by fossil fuels and nuclear power combined declined by 5.41%. Nuclear power and coal both dropped by 1.5%, natural gas (including “other” gas) was down by 10.7%, and oil (i.e., petroleum liquids and petroleum coke) plunged by 17.1%.

For the year to date, electrical generation by utility-scale solar (i.e., solar thermal and photovoltaic) plus small-scale solar photovoltaic rose by 43.2% and is now providing almost 2% of total electrical generation. For perspective, solar has more than doubled its generation since 2014. It has surpassed biomass and is now providing nearly four times the combined electrical output of oil and other petroleum-based sources.

All other renewable energy sources showed positive growth as well: electrical output from hydropower grew 15.0%, wind by 11.5%, geothermal by 2.9%, and biomass by 1.6%. Together, electrical generation by non-hydro renewables is now nearly 10%. Wind alone is nearly 6%.

Overall, renewables accounted for 17.78% of domestic electrical generation during the first nine months of this year – up from 15.13% a year ago. Meanwhile, nuclear provided 19.57% and fossil fuels 62.50% (i.e., gas-31.94%, coal- 30.05%, oil-0.51%); the balance (0.16%) was from pumped hydro and other sources.

“It’s no wonder congressional tax writers are seeking to undermine renewable sources while the White House contemplates tariffs to put the brakes on solar’s growth,” said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “The dirty energy sources they favor are rapidly losing ground and costly subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear power are their only option for survival.”

EIA released its most recent “Electric Power Monthly” report on December 1st. The full report may be found at: The most relevant data cited in this advisory may be found in, or is derived from

The SUN DAY Campaign is a non-profit research and educational organization founded in 1992 to aggressively promote sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels.

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