News Break: Record Month for Renewable Energy in the U.S.

wind_energy_purple_hazeThe latest Electric Power Monthly Report released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows net U.S. electrical generation from renewable sources (biomass, geothermal, solar, hydro, and wind) reached an all-time high in May of 2009, comprising 13% of the total electrical generation for the month.

Renewable sources for May ’09 generated 40,395,000 Megawatt hours (Mwh), 7.7% higher than for May of 2008, and thus far the highest figure ever reported by the EIA.

Total generations for all sources, including fossil and renewable, was down for May of 2009 from the previous year by 4.1%, representing the third-largest percentage decline in national power generation since 1974.

Of the 13% from renewable for May of ’09, 9.4% came from conventional hydropower and 3.6% from non-hydro renewables. From that 3.6% of non-hydro, 1.8% came from wind, 1.3% from biomass, 0.4% from geothermal, and 0.3% from solar thermal and photovoltaics (the numbers are rounded). Compared to May of 2008 wind net generation increased by 12.5% (with generation increases in the state of Iowa representing 52.2% of the national increase). Conventional hydro increased by 10.2% from May of 2008, and solar thermal and photovoltaics were up 3.5%.

Coal generation fell by 14.8% and petroleum liquids by 8.3% from May of 2008 to May of 2009. This is the fifth consecutive month of historically steep declines in coal-fired generation as compared with the same month from the previous year.

Month-after-month, the U.S. government’s own numbers refute those attempting to dismiss or belittle the rapidly expanding role being played by renewable energy sources in the nation’s electricity supply,” said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “Moreover, non-hydro renewables are already well beyond the levels of the Renewable Electricity Standard proposed in energy legislation now being considered by before the U.S. Senate, which calls for just 3 percent renewables by 2013.”

Comparing the 12-month period ending May 31, 2009 from the same 12-month period of the previous year, renewable energy sources grew by 10.1% (non-hydro sources by 12.5%). Wind exploded with a 36.8% increase and solar thermal and photovoltaic were up 19.9%. Geothermal increased 1.3%. The only laggard was biomass, which fell in the 12-month period ending in May this year by 3.3%

Thomas Schueneman
Thomas Schueneman
Tom is the founder and managing editor of and the PlanetWatch Group. His work appears in Triple Pundit, Slate, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, Earth911, and several other sustainability-focused publications. Tom is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

Get in Touch


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Articles

Stay in touch

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.


Latest Posts