Renewables top nuclear in US power mix for first time since 1984

New York - For the first time in more than 30 years, America’s nuclear plants have fallen behind wind farms, solar panels and other renewable energy suppliers as a source of electricity.

In March and April, US power from utility-scale renewables topped output from reactors for the first time since July 1984, according to a US Energy Information Administration report (EIA).

Supplies from wind and solar rose to a record, while heavy rains in the West boosted hydroelectric power and nuclear generation dropped to the lowest monthly level since April 2014.

Eclipsing

Though President Donald Trump announced plans last month to review US nuclear energy policy, the surge of renewable power signals that reviving the flagging industry will be a complex and costly endeavor.

Amid competition from renewables and abundant natural gas from shale basins, more than half of America’s reactors are losing money, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That’s prompted states including New York and Illinois to pass legislation clearing the way for nuclear subsidies.

“As renewable generation has increased, net generation from nuclear power has remained relatively flat since the late 1990s,” Mickey Francis, an analyst at EIA, said in the agency’s report. “Retirements of a number of nuclear plants have resulted in a slightly lower level of overall nuclear generation capacity.”

Entergy is planning to close its Indian Point reactors in New York by 2021 under an agreement with the state, while plans by Southern and Scana to build new nuclear plants in Georgia and South Carolina have hit roadblocks after contractor Westinghouse Electric filed for bankruptcy.

Nuclear power isn’t about to disappear from the US electricity mix, however. Output from reactors will surpass renewable generation during the summer and on an annual basis for 2017, according to the EIA report.

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

ZAR/USD
17.43
(-0.63)
ZAR/GBP
22.91
(-0.83)
ZAR/EUR
20.70
(-0.69)
ZAR/AUD
12.61
(-1.13)
ZAR/JPY
0.17
(-0.63)
Gold
2059.93
(+1.19)
Silver
28.42
(+5.90)
Platinum
989.00
(+2.66)
Brent Crude
45.33
(+1.67)
Palladium
2208.00
(+2.06)
All Share
57656.69
(+0.05)
Top 40
53350.88
(+0.13)
Financial 15
9888.41
(-0.41)
Industrial 25
76178.50
(+0.02)
Resource 10
60086.05
(+0.49)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Do you think it was a good idea for the government to approach the IMF for a $4.3 billion loan to fight Covid-19?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes. We need the money.
11% - 911 votes
It depends on how the funds are used.
74% - 6058 votes
No. We should have gotten the loan elsewhere.
15% - 1229 votes
Vote