April 2017: Renewables Generate More Electricity than Nuclear

For the first time since the 1980s, nuclear has been overtaken by renewable power. In April, renewables generated 23% of U.S. electricity compared with just over 19% by nuclear.

Monhtly US Electricity Generation from Nuclear and RenewablesThe chart shows that renewables tend to generate most power in the early part of the year – typically March and April. The reason for this is mainly due to hydro output peaking at this time due to maximum post-winter spring runoff in combination with wind energy spring output peaks. Surprisingly the early fall is also a good time for solar power: a little known fact is that solar panels tend to perform better in cooler temperatures.

The point? Renewables output will decline below nuclear in around June. Nonetheless the trend is clear: nuclear power has been stagnant in the U.S for the last 10 years while renewables, led by wind and solar, have been growing rapidly. It is only a matter of time – months and not years – before renewables consistently generate more of U.S. electricity than nuclear.