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US renewable power generation has doubled since 2008

According to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), US renewable power generation achieved a new record of 742 TWh in 2018, which is almost twice the amount of 382 TWh produced in 2008. In total, renewables provided 17.6% of the US power generation in 2018 and 90% of the increase over the 2008-2018 period came from wind and solar power plants, since conventional hydroelectric capacity remained relatively stable (+2% since 2008, reaching 292 TWh in 2018, i.e. 6.9% of the US power mix).

Over this period, wind power generation rose from 55 TWh to 275 TWh in 2018, i.e. 6.5% of the total domestic power generation, while solar power generation soared from 2 TWh in 2008 to 96 TWh in 2018 (2.3% of the power mix). In 2018, 69% of solar generation (67 TWh) was utility-scale solar, while the remainder entailed small-scale installations such as customer-sited or rooftop. Power generation from other renewable resources (including biomass and geothermal) rose by 13% from 70 TWh to 79 TWh, accounting for 1.9% of total generation in 2018.

This surge in renewable power generation was driven by capacity additions: wind capacity grew from 25 GW in 2008 to nearly 95 GW in 2018, while nearly 50 GW of solar capacities were added over the 10-year period. Declining technology costs and federal and state support policies contributed to this growth, in particular the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, the Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credits for wind and solar and state renewable portfolio standards.

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