The Energy Department released its March 2018 data. Today, I’ll summarize our analysis of the grid’s renewable generation in the first quarter.
The first quarter was a record setter. Because of the grid’s rapidly growing wind power production.
Grid wind produced 78 million megawatt-hours in the first quarter. That was an all-time record. It topped last year’s first quarter by 12.9 percent.
Those 78 million megawatt-hours were also 7.8 percent of the grid’s generation. That was another all-time record. The first quarters of the last two years came in at 7.3 percent and 6.2 percent. Before 2016, wind never accounted for 5 percent, let alone more.
Grid solar produced 12.4 million megawatt-hours in the first quarter. That was an all-time record for a first quarter. Being solar, the not-as-sunny first quarter is not the best.
Those 12.4 million megawatt-hours were also 1.2 percent of the grid’s generation. That was another all-time record for a first quarter. The first quarters of the last two years came in at 1 percent and 0.7 percent. Before 2016, grid solar never accounted for more than 0.5 percent.
If you sum the grid’s wind and solar, their production was 9 percent of grid generation in the first quarter. An all-time record of course. In next year’s first quarter, will we see wind and solar reach 10 percent?
Grid wind set still another record for a first quarter. Wind’s production exceeded hydro’s production. It hadn’t before this year.
If you add to the sum, with the two other no-emission sources, hydro and nuclear, 37.4 percent of grid generation was no-emission in the first quarter. If we can maintain this level of nuclear production — a challenge considering the nuclear plant retirements — then the grid can be expected to regularly exceed 40 percent no-emission.
What about home solar roofs and other customer solar? How do they measure up?
In the first quarter, home solar roofs throughout the nation produced 3.4 million megawatt-hours. Other customer solar such as at offices, warehouses and retail buildings produced another 2.5 million megawatt-hours. All customer solar amounted to less than half of grid solar.
No need to share. Now everyone in your organization can have their own PUF. As we phase out individual subscriptions to Public Utilities Fortnightly at organizations with over a hundred employees, we’ll make it easy and economical for those agencies, associations, professional firms, utilities and vendors to sign up for an organization-wide membership.
Steve Mitnick, Editor-in-Chief, Public Utilities Fortnightly, and President, Lines Up, Inc.
E-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org