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Climate Change

ISO-NE: Natural Gas Remains King In New England Even As Wind & Solar Climb

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New England used more wind and solar power than ever last year, but fossil fuels still make up half the electricity generated in the region.

In new data, power grid operator ISO-New England says 49% of electricity generated in New England last year was from natural gas. Less than 1% was from coal or oil. 

Natural gas use has roughly plateaued in the region in the past few years. It peaked in 2015.

Nuclear and hydropower use has remained more or less steady for decades. Nuclear covered 30% of the region's mix last year, with hydro at about 9%. 

Wind and solar generation, meanwhile, are continuing to climb. Wind made up 3.6% of the fuel mix last year, with solar at 1.7%. 

The rest of the region's generation – about 6% – came from burning wood, trash or methane. 

New England is a net importer of electricity. It met nearly 20% of its total demand last year with hydropower and other sources from Canada and New York.

That makes natural gas responsible for about 40% of the total energy consumed in the region, with nuclear accounting for 25%.

See how New England’s electricity generation has changed over time:

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