Prominence of Hydroelectric Power Diminishing

Hydroelectric power plant on river landscape.

A recent report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that hydroelectricity represented the largest share of generated electricity among renewable sources in 28 states in 2007. However, that remained the case in only 19 states a decade later, as wind and solar have become more common. Wind-generated power was the most prevalent renewable in 16 states in 2017, and solar was the most prominent in seven states.

Hydroelectricity was the most common electricity generation source in six states for 2017. Of those, Washington had the largest hydroelectricity share at 72 percent of the state’s total electricity generation. For the United States as a whole, hydroelectricity was the highest renewable electricity generation source in 2017, providing seven percent of the national total. However, the EIA expects wind to take the top spot for renewables by 2019.

Wind Power, in particular, has increased its generation share at the expense of coal throughout the Midwest. Iowa and Kansas may become the first states to have a renewable source other than hydroelectricity provide the most significant percentage of their electricity generation. In Kansas, 36 percent of the state’s electricity in 2017 came from wind turbines. Similarly, 37 percent of the Hawkeye state's electricity generation in 2017 came from wind — the largest share in the nation.

 

Image Credit: risteski goce/Shutterstock.com

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