Energy history is being made in 2011. Renewable energy will provide more power than nuclear energy for the first time since 1990, when the rise of nuclear power over 50 years reached the point where it surpassed hydro and other forms of renwable energy in total energy production.
Rnewable energy has been rising rapidly for the last 10 years and it will surpass once again nuclear power as a larger energy source for America. In the first 6 months of 2011, renewable energy provided more energy than nuclear power for America, according to the Energy Information Administration's data at www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/sec1_5.pdf.
And renewables will almost certainly be more important than nuclear power to powering America for the full 2011.
Most of the 2011 growth in renewables comes from wind generation, increasing corn or biomass to make transportation fuel, and a lot of rain in the Pacific Northwest in the first 6 months of this year that boosted hydro production. The wind and ethanol increased production will increase further over the next 18 months, but hydro production will likely fall next year if precipitation is less heavy. That means the race between renewables and nuclear power will be close in 2012.
Together both renewables and nuclear account for a bit more than 22% of domestic US energy production. The remainder of US energy production comes from coal, oil, and natural gas.