Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 2, 2015

Hydropower Getting Surpassed by Wind, Solar and Other Renewables

hydroGen

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

This year will be the first in which other renewable forms of generation produce more electricity than hydropower, the Energy Information Administration reports. Hydropower has provided a steady 20 to 30 billion kilowatt hours per month over the past decade, while the contribution from wind, solar, geothermal and other renewables has climbed from less than a third of that.

While wind capacity jumped 10-fold overt the past decade, hydropower capacity increased just 1 percent — although the Energy Department is looking at ways to tap into potential new hydro projects.

Factoring in rooftop solar panels, the other renewables already outperform hydropower, as the administration made its calculations without considering the estimated 10 billion kilowatt hours from smaller distributed solar systems.

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    The point of this is? I am looking for someone to give an honest cost comparison of our energy sources. I know that one megawatt of power is generated for about $25 from a nuclear power plant. It runs about $30 from natural gas, $35 – $40 from coal. Hydroelectric power is quite cheap but limited in the areas where it’s practical and I don’t have any numbers for comparison. What does that megawatt cost from wind or solar? Based on limited reports I have heard, I think it is far more expensive than coal but let’s have an honest discussion based on cost, because that is what matters most to the economy overall including businesses and consumers.

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