According to the latest issue of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) monthly “Energy Infrastructure Update” (with data through November 30, 2016), renewable energy accounted for the majority (50.5 percent) of new U.S. electrical generation put into service during the first eleven months of 2016.
Combined, newly installed capacity from renewable sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) totaled 9,655-MW, surpassing that from natural gas (8,109-MW), nuclear power (1,270-MW), coal (45-MW), and oil (33-MW).
In the month of November alone, solar and wind combined to provide 946-MW — 158 times more than that from natural gas (just 6-MW).
Year-to-date, new solar generating capacity totals 5,717-MW while new wind generating capacity totals 3,533-MW. There are also 314-MW of new hydropower capacity and 91-MW of new biomass capacity but no new geothermal steam capacity thus far in 2016.
The rapid growth of renewables — particularly solar and wind — has resulted their seizing an ever-growing share of the nation’s total generating capacity. Five years ago, renewable sources cumulatively accounted for slightly over 14 percent of total available installed generating capacity; now they provide almost 19 percent (18.69 percent): hydropower – 8.53 percent, wind- 6.58 percent, solar – 1.84 percent, biomass – 1.41 percent, and geothermal – 0.33 percent.
Each of the non-hydro renewables has grown during the past half-decade with solar’s share of the nation’s generating capacity now more than twelve times greater than in November 2011.
By comparison, oil is now only 3.81 percent, nuclear power is 9.16 percent, and coal is 24.77 percent — shares of the total that are all lower than five years ago (4.62 percent, 9.45 percent, and 29.95 percent respectively). Only natural gas has experienced modest growth and that is from 41.67 percent in 2011 to 43.40 percent today.
“FERC’s latest data should be a wake-up call to the new Congress and the incoming Trump Administration,” said Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “Don’t mess with a winning hand – continue to support solar, wind, and other renewables!”
Source: SUN DAY Campaign