Wind, solar gaining ground as energy sources

Source: By L.M. Sixel, Houston Chronicle • Posted: Friday, September 14, 2018

  • Wind turbines are seen near high tension power lines outside of Tracy, Calif., on Thursday June 14, 2018. Photo: Michael Short, Special To The Chronicle
Michael Short, Special To The Chronicle. Wind turbines are seen near high tension power lines outside of Tracy, Calif., on Thursday June 14, 2018.

A decade ago¬†Texas was just one of seven states that relied on wind power as the biggest source for renewable energy. Today, Texas isn’t such an outlier.

Sixteen states report that wind energy is now their biggest source of renewable energy, according to the Energy Department. Additional states with wind power as their dominant source of renewable energy include Colorado, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Dakota and Pennsylvania.

Solar power has also taken hold across the nation. Just a decade ago, not a single state reported solar as its biggest source of renewable energy; today, seven states say that solar is their No. 1 renewable energy source.

The gains made by wind and solar are cutting into hydroelectricity, one of the oldest forms of renewable energy. A decade ago, water-powered generation was the chief  source of renewable electricity in 28 states. Now only 19 states rely on power generated by water for their primary source of renewable energy, according to the Energy Department.

Hydroelectricity has been waning in recent years. Few projects, which require damming rivers and streams and inundating nearby areas, are under construction.

The Energy Department, meanwhile, predicts a significant increase of new wind capacity. The new wind projects are expected to add 9 percent of new wind capacity by the end of this year and another eight percent by the end of next year.