EIA, NREL, and E2 release studies on different benefits of renewable energy

Non-Hydro renewables provide 14% in US. NREL shows renewables cost trends. Clean energy is creating more jobs than other sectors.

Renewables Top 14% of U.S. Electrical Generation During First Half of 2013
NREL Study Suggests Cost Gap for Western Renewables Could Narrow by 2025
Clean Energy/ Clean Transportation Creating More Jobs Than Any Other Sector

Renewables Top 14% of U.S. Electrical Generation During First Half of 2013
Sustainable Energy Coalition & SUN DAY Campaign Press Release (Washington, DC) August 27 — Non-Hydro Renewables Triple Output in a Decade; Now Nearly Equal Conventional Hydropower – According to the latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) “Electric Power Monthly,” with preliminary data through to June 30, 2013, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) provided 14.20% of the nation’s net electric power generation during the first half of the year. For the same period in 2012, renewables accounted for 13.57% of net electrical generation.

Moreover, non-hydro renewables have more than tripled their output during the past decade. They now account for almost the same share of electrical generation (6.71%) as does conventional hydropower (7.49%). Ten years ago (i.e., calendar year 2003), non-hydro renewables provided only 2.05% of net U.S. electrical generation.

Comparing the first six months of 2013 to the same period in 2012, solar thermal & PV combined have grown 94.4%** while wind increased 20.1% and geothermal grew by 1.0%. Biomass declined by 0.5% while hydropower dropped by 2.6%. Among the non-hydro renewabes, wind is in the lead, accounting for 4.67% of net electrical generation, followed by biomass (1.42%), geothermal (0.43%), and solar (0.19%).

The balance of the nation’s electrical generation mix for the first half of 2013 consisted of coal (39.00% – up by 10.3%), natural gas & other gas (26.46% – down by 13.6%), nuclear power (19.48% – up by 0.2%), and petroleum liquids + coke (0.66% – up by 15.6%). The balance (0.21%) was from other sources and pumped hydro storage.

“Every year for the past decade, non-hydro renewables have increased both their net electrical output as well as their percentage share of the nation’s electricity mix,” said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “Moreover, the annual rate of growth for solar and wind continues in the double digits, setting new records each year.”

NREL Study Suggests Cost Gap for Western Renewables Could Narrow by 2025
By Sustainable Energy Coalition & SUN DAY Campaign, source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory — A new Energy Department study, “Beyond Renewable Portfolio Standards: An Assessment of Regional Supply and Demand Conditions Affecting the Future of Renewable Energy in the West,” indicates that by 2025 wind and solar power electricity generation could become cost-competitive without federal subsidies, if new renewable energy development occurs in the most productive locations. The study’s finds that Wyoming and New Mexico could be areas of robust competition among wind projects aiming to serve California and the Southwest. California, Arizona, and Nevada are likely to have surpluses of prime-quality solar resources. New geothermal development could trend toward Idaho by 2025 since much of Nevada’s resources have already been developed.

Clean Energy/ Clean Transportation Creating More Jobs Than Any Other Sector
A 2013 Second Quarter Clean Energy/ Clean Transportation Jobs Report from E2 Environmental Entrepreneurs looks at related jobs that were announced in that time period. Relevant jobs were announced in at least 27 states, with 166 jobs for geothermal power announced — all for a newly announced project. In all, jobs stemming from renewable energy projects announced in second quarter 2013 are expected to create more than 13,300 jobs, more jobs than any other sector. Cleanenergyworksforus.org (PDF)

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