US electricity generation has been slightly oscillating around a flatline, near 4000 TWh per year, for the last decade. However, with the great wave of coal retirements now beginning to land and with the US beginning to take a leadership role in wind and solar deployment, the country’s energy mix–underneath that flatline–is rapidly changing. In 2010, combined wind and solar generation provided just 2.3% of total power generation. But as of last year, those two energy sources alone provided 230 TWh, or 5.6%, out of a total 4100 TWh generated. | see: Wind and Solar Generation Combined in Total US Electricity Generation – TWh 2005-2015.
2016 will of course see substantial growth (once again) in new wind and solar in the United States. As John Raymond Hangar, a former policy advisor to the Governor of Pennsylvania, observed on Twitter recently: it’s likely that by the end of this year, combined wind and solar will provide a quantity of electricity generation equal to a third of the country’s nuclear fleet. If so, that would imply total wind and solar will reach 6.5% of US power generation. At the current pace of growth, the twin renewable energy sources are starting to add a full percentage point per year. Indeed, TerraJoule.us is projecting that combined wind and solar will provide at least 11% of total US electricity by the year 2020.