The latest data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) show that non-hydro renewable sources of electricity have grown significantly since Barack Obama took office.
In the last year of the Bush administration, non-hydro renewable sources accounted for 3.06% of the nation’s electrical generation. This was equivalent to an average monthly output of 10,508 gigawatthours. Conversely, through the first six months of 2012, non-hydro resources have accounted for 3.84% of the country’s electrical output.
If that increase does not look that substantial, let’s break down the numbers. Compared to 2009, this year’s average monthly electrical generation from renewables has grown by 78.7% to 18,777 gigawatthours. Even more, the monthly output from solar has increased 285%, while wind has grown 171%, and geothermal has expanded its output by 13.5%.
According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects, renewable energy projects account for more than 38% of new electrical capacity in 2012, more than double that of new coal power. The only energy source to bring on more new capacity compared to renewables is the ever popular and controversial natural gas, which has accounted for more than 41% of new electrical generation.
Continued growth in the renewable industry will largely be dependent on who wins the Presidential election, as both candidates have contrasting energy policies.