Obama: We’re No. 1 in Wind Power

By Terence P. Jeffrey | January 23, 2015 | 4:04 PM EST

President Barack Obama speaking at the University of Kansas on Jan. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(CNSNews.com) - President Barack Obama told a crowd at the University of Kansas on Thursday—where he was talking about his vision of “middle-class economics”—that America is “number one in wind power.”

According to the Department of Energy, wind now accounts for about 4 percent of U.S. electricity production, and the increase in wind-generated electricity over the past seven full years on record does not come close to making up for the loss of coal-generated electricity during that time.

2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was the most expensive year ever for electricity in the United States.

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“Energy production is booming,” Obama said at the University of Kansas.

“We believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet at the same time,” he said. “And today, America is number one in oil and gas, but we're also number one in wind power. And every three weeks, we bring as much solar power online as we did in all of 2008.

“We have doubled wind power production,” Obama said.

“And thanks not just to lower gas prices, but also higher fuel standards, the typical family this year should save about 750 bucks at the pump,” he said.

U.S. electricity production hit an historical peak in 2007 at 4,156,745 million kilowatthours (KWH), according to data published by the U.S. Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration. In 2013, the last year for which full data has been published, the U.S. produced only 4,058,209 million KWH—a decline of 98,536 million KWH or 2.4 percent from the 2007 peak.

Coal-generated electricity dropped from 2,016,456 million KWH in 2007 to 1,585,998 million KWH in 2013, a decline of 430,458 million KWH—or 21.3 percent.

Wind-generated electricity climbed from 34,450 million KWH in 2007 to 167,665 million KWH in 2013, an increase of 133,215 million KWH—or 258 percent.

Despite this relatively large increase in wind power production, the 133,215 million KWH of additional wind-generated electricity in 2013 made up for only about 31 percent (less than a third) of the 430,458 million KWH in lost coal-generated electricity.

Solar-generated electricity grew from 612 million KWH in 2007 to 9,252 million KWH in 2013. That means there was 15 times as much electricity generated by solar power in the U.S. in 2013 as there was in 2007. But in 2013, solar power still supplied only 0.23 percent of the nation’s electricity.

The 8,640 million KWH increase in solar power from 2007 to 2013 made up for only 1/50th of the loss in coal-generated electricity.

The BLS reported this month that the annual electricity price index for 2014 was a record 208.020, up from 200.750 in 2013.

Electricity prices have not always risen in the United States. From 1913 to 1946, the electricity price index dropped from 45.5 to 26.6. By 1974, it was still only 44.1, less than it had been in 1913.

The latest data from the Energy Information Administration on electricity generation in 2014 only covers the first nine months of that year (January through September). During that period, according to the EIA, the nation generated 3,117,501 million KWH of electricity. 1,231,795 million KWH--or 39.5 percent--came from coal. 133,495 million KWH--or 4.3 percent--came from wind. And 14,271--or 0.45 percent--came from solar.

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