Hydro Dominates Share of U.S. Renewable Energy
Hydro with a large share of renewables. Photo Credit: EnviromentalLeader
The United States has a quite a bit of renewable energy capability. By percentage of total consumption, renewable energy production is small, but percentages aren’t everything. As far as renewable energy goes, hydro power is the hands-down winner. It even amounts to almost 6% of all US energy consumption!
Solar and wind production have grown somewhat since 2007 (wind power grew 411% from ‘01 to ‘07), but they still lag behind hydro. Bear in mind, however, that hydro does have a head start with installations like the Hoover Dam. Biomass is a major player in the current power production model and “non-hydro renewable resources.”
Solar does not fare so well. Despite a lot of talk about major solar installations coming into the US, they just aren’t here yet. This graph from 2007 shows large-scale solar at 0.01%. That’s grown exponentially to date, but no matter how much it has grown, it’s nowhere near hydro’s 2007 output of 247,509,975 MWh of generation. A “big” large-scale solar installation currently refers to anything above 50 MW, and most of those are just in the design/contract signing phase.
The US is lagging behind other nations in adding solar power. Germany, for instance, has plans to add 2.5-3 gigawatts of solar production this year. Germany already held one-third of all solar production capabilities in the world.
Someday, the US will catch up, but it will take creative financing, creative people and good, honest old-fashioned American business models to make it work. Simply put, solar (and the solar industry) can’t work on paper only - it has to perform in the field.
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