MOJAVE, CA - APRIL 4: The large Barren Ridge solar panel array is viewed from Highway 58 on April 4, 2017, near Mojave, California. California Highway 58 stretches across the central part of state beginning in Santa Margarita and running east across the central valley, passing through Bakersfield and the Mojave Desert, ending in Barstow. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) has released numbers on US electricity generation for the first quarter of 2017, and renewable energy numbers are coming in big.
According to the EIA, renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and geothermal power accounted for 10.68 percent of total electricity generation in the first quarter of 2017. If you include electricity from conventional hydroelectric plants, renewables made up nearly a fifth of total electricity generation—as much as 19.35 percent.
The striking part about that number is that the EIA, a statistical department within the Department of Energy, couldn’t foresee how dramatically renewables’ share of the electricity mix would increase just five years ago. In 2012, the administration predicted (PDF, page 87) that electricity generation from renewable sources would increase “from 10 percent in 2010 to 15 percent in 2035.” Even by 2015, the administration predicted (PDF, page ES-6) that “The renewable share of total generation grows from 13 …
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