For the First Time Ever, U.S. Is Getting 10% of its Electricity From Wind and Solar

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Renewables—especially wind power—already make up significantly more than 10 perecent of the electricity in several states.

Renewable energy in the U.S. just hit a new benchmark: 10 percent of the electricity produced in a single month came from wind and solar power for the first time.

This March, 8 percent of U.S. electricity came from wind power, and 2 percent came from solar, totaling 10 percent of total energy generation nationally, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Data isn’t finalized for April yet, but the U.S. Energy Information Administration says it expects April wind and solar numbers to exceed 10 percent of total generation again.

Renewables—especially wind power—already make up significantly more than 10 percent of the electricity in several states. In Texas, for example, 13 percent of total energy production comes from renewables. In California, 20 percent does.

Renewables as a share of total energy production at the state level - chart
(EIA/Electric Power Monthly)

Nationally, hitting the 10 percent monthly benchmark represents a significant increase over the same period last year. The U.S. produced 65 percent more solar power and 17 percent more wind power in March 2017 than it did in March 2016, when those two sources accounted for 8.6 percent of all the electricity produced in the country.

The milestone is yet another piece of evidence for the argument that renewables can no longer be considered “alternative” energy, Christopher Clack, CEO of the power grid modeling firm Vibrant Clean Energy and a former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researcher, told Climate Central.