Hydroelectricity represented the largest share of electricity generation among renewable sources in 19 states in 2017, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
By comparison, hydro was the largest renewable electricity source in 28 states in 2007. EIA says the drop in 2017 correlates with wind and solar becoming more common. Wind was the most prevalent renewable electricity generation source in 16 states in 2017 and solar was the most prevalent in seven states.
In addition, hydropower was the most prevalent of all electricity generation sources in six states in 2017. Washington had the largest hydroelectricity share in 2017, at 72% of the state’s total electricity generation. The other states were Oregon, Idaho, Vermont, South Dakota and Maine. Among all of the electricity generation sources, hydroelectricity is the only renewable source to be the most common among all sources in any state, EIA says.
However, wind was the second largest electricity generation source in six states. EIA says that as more wind turbines are constructed and come online, Kansas and Iowa may become the first states to have a renewable source other than hydroelectricity provide the largest share of their electricity generation.
Electricity generated from biomass had the second largest generation share in three states in 2017, and the share of electricity generate by biomass trails only hydro in Maine and Vermont, making them two of only three states where renewable fuels provided both of the top two generation shares. The third is South Dakota, where hydroelectricity and wind were the most prevalent sources.
Solar was the second largest generation source in only one state, Nevada. Solare generation’s share is highest in California, where it provided 16% of the state’s 2017 total.
For the U.S. as a whole, hydro was the highest renewable electricity generation source in 2017, providing 7% of the national total. However, EIA says that by 2019 wind is expected to surpass hydro, based on the latest forecasts in its Short-Term Energy Outlook.
Multiple utilities in the Carolinas have released updates regarding preparedness of their dams and hydro plants in anticipation of Hurricane Florence in the U.S., which is being called a monster.
The National Hurricane Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the storm is expected to “bring life-threatening storm surge and rainfall to portions of the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic states.” As of 8 am eastern time on Wednesday, Sept. 12, the center said the storm was moving WNW at 17 mph. It may bring more than 20 inches of rainfall to some areas.
Several hydro plant owners have announced work to prepare for the hurricane, with Duke Energy drawing down the reservoirs behind some of its dams.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is posting updates on its Twitter account @USACEHQ. The Corps says: “Dams reduce the risk of downstream flooding, but do not eliminate it. Risk remains from potential massive rainfall & flooding downstream from other drainage areas not associated with the dams. USACE is also coordinating with @ArmyIMCOM for impacts to installation dams.” Additionally, the Corps is actively monitoring and managing dams in the path of Florence to make as much water storage available as possible and will continue to monitor and manage these dams throughout the event.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is urging local pond and dam owners to lower their water levels. “Owners of reservoirs with functional gates or flashboards should consider operating them to provide additional storage for the anticipate rainfall,” said Jill Stewart, director of the department’s dam safety and stormwater permitting division.
On Sept. 11, senior officials from the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Homeland Security joined a call with the chief executive officers of electric companies in the path of Hurricane Florence to discuss the mutual assistance preparation and staging activities under way, according to a press release from the Edison Electric Institute.