‘Renewables’ Surpass Nuclear Electricity Production

by Brian McGraw on July 5, 2011

in Blog

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This is the new claim being thrown around by renewable energy proponents with supporting data by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Check the link here:

During the first quarter of 2011, renewable energy sources (biomass/biofuels, geothermal, solar, water, wind) provided 2.245 quadrillion Btus of energy or 11.73 percent of U.S. energy production. More significantly, energy production from renewable energy sources in 2011 was 5.65 percent more than that from nuclear power, which provided 2.125 quadrillion Btus and has remained largely unchanged in recent years. Energy from renewable sources is now 77.15 percent of that from domestic crude oil production, with the gap closing rapidly.

Looking at all energy sectors (e.g., electricity, transportation, thermal), production of renewable energy, including hydropower, has increased by 15.07 percent compared to the first quarter of 2010, and by 25.07 percent when compared to the first quarter of 2009. Among the renewable energy sources, biomass/biofuels accounted for 48.06 percent, hydropower for 35.41 percent, wind for 12.87 percent, geothermal for 2.45 percent, and solar for 1.16 percent.

It’s questionable how well nuclear energy would survive without federal subsidies, but its worth pointing out the banality of what is being claimed above, as its clearly being used to continue the green assault against nuclear energy in favor of other sources that rely on even more federal subsidies. From the EIA report, nuclear energy produced 2.125 quadrillion Btus in the first 3 quarters of 2011. A combination of hydro-electric power, geothermal, biomass, solar, and wind produced 2.245 quadrillion Btus.

Breaking total ‘renewable energy’ production down percentage wise, we have (roughly):

  • Hydro-electric: .795/2.245 =  ~35%
  • Geothermal: .055/2.245 = 2.5%
  • Solar/PV: .026/2.245 = 1.16%
  • Wind: .289/2.245 = 12.9%
  • Biomass: 1.079/2.245 = 48%

Roughly 83% (biomass and hydro) of the ‘renewable’ energy touted above isn’t favored by many present day environmentalists. Hydro-electric power production, while having low carbon dioxide emissions, upsets environmentalists for other reasons — so throw that out, noting that hydro was not included in California’s renewable energy targets. Wood-biomass is hated by many environmentalists as well, and ethanol (included by the EIA as a subset of biomass) is hated by almost everyone. Roughly 90% of the energy included in biomass came from those sources.

So if you add the remaining energy options, the ones that are favored by the Obama Administration showered with subsidies, you get 0.37 quadrillion Btus (from wind, solar, geothermal — which doesn’t receive the same attention as wind/solar), representing roughly 17% of the energy produced by nuclear power in the United States, and a much smaller fraction of total energy production.

Tom July 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Why the skewed reporting here? Why not just take the numbers at face value and leave the “green assault” rhetoric alone? Talk about banality…

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