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Coal Use Rises As Renewables Fall In U.S. Electricity Generation


The EIA released the latest edition of their Electric Power Monthly on September 25th, with data for July 2018. The table below shows the percentage contribution of the main fuel sources to two decimal places for the last two months and the year to date.

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

For the month of July, the total amount of electricity generated was the second highest amount generated for any single month since January 2013 at 410,148 GWh, 2,302 GWh less than the amount generated in July 2016. Coal and Natural Gas fueled almost 68.5 percent of US electricity generation in July and while the contribution from Coal increased from 27.36 percent in June to 28.18 percent in July, the contribution from Natural Gas also increased by slightly more than five percentage points, reaching an unprecedented 40.28 percent up from 35.02 percent in June. Nuclear power generated 72,456 GWh, 3.97 percent more than it did in June but, due to the increase in total generation, the percentage contribution to the total actually declined to 17.67 percent from 18.77 percent in June.

In July, the contribution from All Renewables at 13.01 percent fell further below that from Nuclear at 17.67 percent, similar to July 2017 when the ramp up of total generation resulted in the percentage contribution from All Renewables falling further below that from Nuclear. The absolute contribution from Solar declined from it’s all time high in June of 10,880 GWh to 10,049 GWh, with the corresponding percentage contribution declining to 2.45 percent as opposed to 2.93 percent in June. The amount of electricity generated by Wind decreased by almost 35 percent, from 24,411 GWh to 15,897 GWh and coupled with the increased total generation, the percentage contribution declined from 6.58 percent to 3.88 percent in July. The contribution from Hydro decreased 13.53 percent from 27415 GWh in June to 23706 GWh, resulting in the percentage contribution decreasing from 7.39 percent in June to 5.78 percent. The combined contribution from Wind and Solar decreased to 6.33 percent from 9.51 percent in June. Consequently the contribution from Non-Hydro Renewables also decreased to 7.23 percent from 10.48 percent. The contribution of zero emission and carbon neutral sources, that is, nuclear, hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, landfill gas and other biomass decreased to 30.68 percent from 36.64 percent in June.

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