As E&E reporter Ben Storrow famous
and the EIA confirmed, wind generators final Tuesday generated over 2,000 gigawatt-hours of electrical energy, edging out electrical energy generated by nuclear and coal (however nonetheless trailing behind pure fuel).
Final yr, wind was the fourth-largest electrical energy supply behind pure fuel, coal, and nuclear, producing near 380 terawatt-hours for all the yr, in line with the EIA. For context, a terawatt is a thousand instances larger than a gigawatt.
Main milestone apart, wind vitality within the US remains to be lagging behind one European nation that not too long ago broke a file of its personal: Germany.
Though the US has extra wind capability by sheer numbers — it is a bigger nation with a bigger inhabitants — Germany is outpacing the US when it comes to how a lot electrical energy it will get from wind. In February alone, windmills in Germany generated a file 20.6 terawatt-hours of wind vitality, Rystad Power reported Tuesday
, which made up 45% of its complete vitality in February.
In 2020 — the latest yr the EIA has strong statistics for — Germany obtained 24% of its electrical energy from wind, in comparison with 8% within the US.
“Europe and Germany particularly, have developed vital wind energy over the previous decade,” mentioned Fabian Rønningen, an influence markets analyst at unbiased vitality agency Rystad.
And the bigger image exhibits the US trails Europe in its renewables capability.
In 2020, the EU and UK mixed had the capability to supply round 49% of their electrical energy from renewables, nearly twice that of the US’ 25%, in line with the Worldwide Renewables Power Company.
With greater than 100 deliberate offshore- and onshore-wind initiatives within the pipeline, President Joe Biden’s administration is attempting to make up the misplaced floor within the wind-power sport. The administration set a objective to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind vitality alone.
The EIA initiatives the US will convey one other 7.6 gigawatts of utility-scale wind on-line this yr, alongside 21.5 gigawatts of utility-scale solar energy. Simply final month, for instance, the Traverse wind farm in Oklahoma introduced near a gigawatt of recent vitality on-line.
The US milestone comes because the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change reported that wind and photo voltaic have declined considerably in value and are actually economically viable alternate options to fossil fuels. Scientists warned the world should quickly transition to renewables and away from fossil fuels to avert the worst impacts of worldwide warming.
“We can not run our fossil fuel-based infrastructures anymore the way in which we did,” mentioned Jan Christoph Minx, a local weather researcher and a lead creator on the report, at a information convention. “The massive message coming from right here is we have to finish the age of fossil gas. And we do not solely want to finish it, however we have to finish it in a short time.”