Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Increase In Coal Generation Is 4 Times As Much As Combined Rise In Wind And Solar Output In 2013

Energy math is paradox. 

Wind and solar generation are growing much more rapidly than coal generation this year and in prior years.  But, in the first 6 months of 2013, the increase in coal electricity output is 4 times greater than the increase in the combined output of wind and solar.

Coal generation is up 72 billion kilowatt-hours this year, while wind and solar is up a combined 17 billion kilowatt-hours.  Wind and solar is growing more rapidly--wind generation is up 20% and solar 94%--but from very small totals.

Wind's production in the first 6 months totaled 91 billion kilowatt-hours and coal's 764 billion kilowatt-hours.  There are 8 kilowatt-hours generated from coal for every 1 kilowatt-hour produced by wind.  Wind is growing rapidly, but an enormous gap remains between the production from coal and wind.

When all renewable resources are combined, including hydro, coal produces a bit less than 3 kilowatt-hours for every 1 produced by all renewable energy sources together. The gap between production from coal and all renewable energy is closing but will likely take about 15-20 years to close.

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