Renewable energy accounts for 21% of US generating capacity: FERC

Renewable energy generation US in 2018

Natural gas dominated new electrical generating capacity in 2018, according to data released on the US renewable energy market by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

New natural gas generation placed in service in 2018 totaled 20,048 MW or 64.9 percent of the total (30,881 MW).

Renewable sources such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind accounted for 10,392 MW or 33.7 percent. The balance 1.4 percent was provided by nuclear (350 MW), waste heat (51 MW), oil (25 MW), coal (10 MW), and others (5 MW).

Wind ended 2018 with 6,028 MW of additional capacity for the year or over 19.5 percent of the total. Solar added 4,181MW capacity or 13.5 percent.

New capacity from wind and solar combined in 2018 (10,209 MW) was one-quarter less than that added in 2017 (13,601 MW).
Renewable energy installed capacity US

Renewable sources account for 21 percent of installed US generating capacity. Five years ago, renewables were 16 percent. Their total installed generating capacity has increased by 35.6 percent over the past half-decade from 185.16 GW to 250.99 GW.

Utility-scale solar has reached 3 percent of the nation’s generating capacity while hydropower and wind account for 8.4 percent and 7.9 percent respectively.

Proposed generation additions from wind total 97,455 MW while those from solar are 70,902 MW — each greater than that listed for natural gas (59,900 MW). The amount of new solar and wind proposed to be added by January 2022 has increased by 9.1 percent from 154,344 MW to 168,357 MW.

FERC lists only a single new 17-MW coal unit for the upcoming three-year period but 15,244 MW in retirements. Oil will decline by 1,361 MW. Nuclear power will increase by 2,090 MW.

FERC only reports data for utility-scale facilities rated 1-MW or greater and its data does not reflect the capacity of distributed renewables, notably rooftop solar PV. The rooftop solar PV market, according to the U.S. Energy Information (EIA), accounts for 30 percent of installed solar capacity.