Renewable energy comprises over 60% of new capacity in the U.S

By Editor


Renewable energy sources which include biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind accounted for more than 60 percent (60.20 percent) of the 7,276 MW of new electrical generation placed in service in the United States during the first nine months of 2015, said Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC).

According to the recently released “Energy Infrastructure Update” from FERC Office of Energy Projects, 26 new “units” of wind accounted for 2,966 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity – or more than forty percent (40.76 percent) of all new capacity year-to-date.

Solar followed with 1,137 MW (142 units), biomass with 205 MW (16 units), geothermal steam with 45 MW (1 unit), and hydropower with 27 MW (18 units). Thirty-four units of natural gas contributed 2,884 MW, the report said.

Nuclear power did not contribute any new capacity for the year-to-date while oil and coal contributed just 9 MW and 3 MW respectively.

Overall, the new capacity from renewable energy sources during the first three-quarters of 2015 is 1,460 times greater than that from coal while new capacity from wind alone exceeds that from natural gas.

For just the month of September, wind (448 MW) again dominated, with 54.83 percent of new capacity followed by natural gas (346 MW), and solar (20 MW).

Renewable energy sources now account for 17.40 percent of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S: water – 8.59 percent, wind – 5.91 percent, biomass – 1.43 percent, solar – 1.13 percent, and geothermal steam – 0.34 percent.

In comparison, renewables were 16.35 percent of capacity in September 2014 and 15.68 percent in September 2013).

The share of total installed capacity from solar alone has more than doubled over the past two years (1.13 percent vs. 0.54 percent). Total installed capacity from non-hydro renewables (8.81 percent) now exceeds that from conventional hydropower (8.59 percent).

Renewable electrical capacity is now greater than that of nuclear (9.19 percent) and oil (3.87 percent) combined. In fact, the installed capacity of wind power alone has now surpassed that of oil. On the other hand, generating capacity from coal has declined from 28.94 percent in September 2013 to 26.61 percent today, the report said.

Rajani Baburajan

[email protected]

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