The average residential retail price of electricity increased very slightly year-over-year in September but declined compared with the previous month, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s monthly report.

The average household paid 11.97 cents per kilowatt-hour in September 2010, up 0.2 percent from the price in September 2009. The average residential price was down 0.6 percent from the average reported for August 2010, the administration said.

The average commercial retail price in September 2010, of 10.55 cents per kilowatt-hour, was unchanged from September 2009. The commercial price was 1.2 percent lower than it had been a month earlier.

For industrial users, the average retail price in September 2010 was 7.07 cents per kilowatt-hour, the administration said, a 4 percent increase from September 2009. The industrial price was 1.9 percent less than in August 2010.

Countrywide, net generation from all sources rose 5.4 percent in September 2010 compared with the same month in 2009. Coal-fired generation, the largest source, was up 8.4 percent from the total of a year earlier, and nuclear generation also rose.

Wind energy generation continued to rise dramatically, with the total number of megawatt-hours up 52 percent in September 2010 compared with the same month a year earlier. Iowa and Texas, the leading wind state, showed the largest increases, but the energy administration said wind generation declined in only four of the 36 states that reported this form of electricity production.

Solar generation from power plants was up on a year-to-year basis, but declined on a monthly basis compared with August. Solar electricity production fluctuates seasonally, with fewer average hours of sunshine as the summer fades.

Solar electricity generation in September 2010 totaled about 146,000 megawatt-hours, compared with about 95,000 megawatt-hours in September 2009. The increase of about 54 percent was mostly represented by additional solar power plants that have gone online in California and Nevada and Florida.

Electric utilities accounted for 15,000 megawatt-hours of the September 2010 total, up from about 1,000 megawatt-hours the year before. Independent power producers provided about 131,000 megawatt-hours in September 2010, compared with about 94,000 megawatt-hours in September 2009.

On a year-to-date basis, from January through September, solar electricity generation was up about 47.1 percent for 2010 compared with the same nine-month period in 2009. Of the 11 states reporting solar power generation of at least 1,000 megawatt-hours from power plants, 10 showed year-over-year increases.

Solar, wind and other renewable forms of electricity generation, while growing rapidly, remain a small part of the U.S. total, providing about 4.2 percent of the nationwide supply in 2010. Coal-fired power plants have produced about 45 percent of the country’s electricity this year, with natural gas plants generating about 24.2 percent. The third-largest supplier has been nuclear power plants at 19.3 percent, followed by conventional hydroelectric sources, such as Hoover Dam and Grand Coulee Dam, at 6.3 percent.

Source: solarhbj