Wind power is expected to surpass hydroelectricity to provide the largest share of renewable electricity generation in the United States in 2019, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Wednesday.
EIA made such expectation based on the forecasts in the latest Short-Term Energy Outlook.
EIA expects significant levels of new wind capacity to come online in 2018 and 2019, similar to the trend in recent years.
EIA's most recent Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory survey shows wind capacity increasing by 8.3 gigawatts (GW) in 2018 and 8.0 GW in 2019. If these new generating units come online as scheduled, they would add 9 percent to U.S. utility-scale wind capacity by the end of 2018 and another 8 percent by the end of 2019. EIA expects wind to provide 6.4 percent and 6.9 percent of total utility-scale electricity generation in the United States in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Meanwhile, EIA's hydroelectric generation forecasts over the next two years are mostly based on projections of water runoff. After a relatively wet year in 2017 when hydro provided 7.4 percent of total utility-scale generation, hydro generation is expected to be slightly lower at 6.5 percent of total utility-scale generation in 2018 and 6.6 percent in 2019.
As one of the first technologies used to generate electricity, hydroelectric power has historically provided the largest share of renewable electricity generation in the United States.