Renewable energy electricity generation closing in on nuclear power in US

Electricity generation coming from sources of renewable energy in the US came close to matching the input of nuclear power into the US grid last year, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report.

In 2017, renewables contributed to 18% of electrical generation in the US while nuclear power provided a marginally higher 19.6% of the total power in the grid.

These contributions were surpassed only by coal and natural gas plants, although both sources experienced dips of 3% and 2% respectively on the previous year.

“In 2017 it’s a very significant story that renewables are making a lot of headway in pushing forward the decarbonisation of the power sector, even as the natural gas share decreases,” said Rachel Luo, senior analyst for US utilities and market reform at BNEF.

“Natural gas still remains the largest single contributor to the electricity mix. [Its] downtick could be from a variety of factors [such as] the increasing penetration of renewables.”

The report comes in the same week that President Donald Trump proposed budget cuts of over 65% for a research office on renewable energy and efficiency. Trump’s latest assault on the renewables sector comes after he approved a steep tariff on imported solar components last month.

Nonetheless, investment in wind, solar and other renewable technologies totaled US$333 billion in 2017, the second highest level on record in the country.