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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Renewable Energy Accounts for 13% of Electricity in April 2009

Renewable power is starting to replace coal generation. Wind Turbines in the north west of Spain set a new record for power generation on March 5th as gales blew across the country, with more than 40% of the country's energy needs being generated by wind turbines.

Now the same results are starting to be seen in the US. Electrical generation from non-hydro renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) continues its rapid growth according to the latest figures released by the Energy Information Administration in its "Electric Power Monthly" report.

For the 12-month period ending April 30, 2009, non-hydro renewables accounted for 3.18 percent of electrical generation; conventional hydropower accounted for an additional 6.29 percent; combined renewables accounted for 9.47 percent. By comparison, for the 12-month period ending April 30, 2008, the corresponding numbers were 2.69 percent, 5.66 percent, and 8.35 percent.

For the first four months of 2009, non-hydro renewables accounted for 3.67 percent and hydropower produced 7.00 percent; combined, all renewables accounted for 10.68 percent of U.S. electrical generation.

In terms of absolute output, non-hydro renewables during the first four months of 2009 produced 12.47 percent more electricity than they did for the same period in 2008. Similarly, hydropower during the first third of 2009 was 8.22 percent higher than for the first third of 2008.

Most dramatically, for the month of April 2009 alone, non-hydro renewables accounted for 4.24 percent of electrical output while conventional hydropower provided 8.73 percent; combined, renewable energy sources accounted for 12.96 percent of electrical generation.

"Month-after-month, the hard data refutes those who continue to falsely claim that renewable energy accounts for only a minute fraction of the nation's electricity supply," said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign.

"Moreover, non-hydro renewables are already well beyond the measly target set by pending energy legislation now before the U.S. Senate which calls for just 3% renewables by 2013."

Other key findings of the report are that net generation in the United States dropped by 5.0 percent from April 2008 to April 2009. This was the ninth consecutive month that net generation was down compared to the same calendar month in the prior year.

Comparing April 2008 to April 2009, coal-fired generation fell by 20,551 thousand megawatt-hours, or 13.9 percent. Generation from natural gas-fired plants was down by 1.5 percent.

On the other hand, net generation from wind sources was 34.8 percent higher. Generation from conventional hydroelectric sources was the largest absolute increase in April 2009 as it was up by 3,918 thousand megawatt-hours, or 18.4 percent from April 2008.

Finally, nuclear power in April 2009 experienced a nearly 12 percent drop from the preceding month.

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