If asked what type of renewable energy is most prevalent in California, most would choose solar or wind, but in reality, those two forms of renewable energy aren’t even close. Instead, the current California champion for renewable energy is geothermal, followed by small hydro. Say what?
As an example, on Wednesday May 4, 2011, geothermal energy production in California was 23,980 MWh, followed by small hydro with 13,210, then wind at 10,166. Solar power was last, with 3,094, behind biomass and biogas. Yes, that’s right, solar power produces the least amount of renewable energy, even as it (and wind) get most of the attention. Total renewables production for the day was 61,549 MWh against a total system demand of 670,435 MWh or about 9%. Clearly, California has a long way to go to meet its ambitious goal of 33% renewable energy by 2020.
These numbers are from California ISO, a non-profit that monitors and operates much of California’s high-voltage wholesale power grid. They post full details of renewable energy production each day at Renewables Watch and real time system demand overall at Today’s Outlook.
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