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Good news department: U.S. generated 10 percent of March electricity from solar and wind power

Wind turbines in the California desert

Data in a publication of the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that for March, monthly generation of electricity from wind and solar in the United States exceeded 10 percent of the total generation for the first time. This includes utility-scale facilities as well as smaller-scale systems. At the same time, EIA’s Electric Power Monthly reports that wind and solar made up 7 percent of total U.S. electric generation in 2016.

Electricity generation from wind and solar follows seasonal patterns that reflect the seasonal availability of wind and sunshine. Within the United States, wind patterns vary based on geography. For example, wind-powered generating units in Texas, Oklahoma, and nearby states often have their highest output in spring months, while wind-powered generators in California are more likely to have their highest output in summer months.

Based on annual data for 2016, Texas accounted for the largest total amount of wind and solar electricity generation. Nearly all of this generation was from wind, as Texas generates more wind energy than any other state. As a share of the state’s total electricity generation, wind and solar output was highest in Iowa, where wind and solar made up 37% of electricity generation in 2016. In addition to Iowa, wind and solar provided at least 20% of 2016 electricity generation in six other states.

In almost all states, wind makes up a larger share of the state’s total electricity generation than solar. 

While saying that wind and solar should be part of the U.S. energy mix, right-wingers (including prominent members of the Trump regime and the man squatting in the White House himself) support policies that favor fossil fuel sources, including coal. A slight majority of states, however, have adopted policies favorable to the growth in renewable sources. Key among these are so-called “renewable portfolio standards” that set deadlines for generating a certain percentage of electricity from renewables by a certain date. California’s RPS leads the pack, calling for 50 percent renewables generation by 2030. 

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