Solar Leads the Way as Renewables Provide 37% of All New U.S. Electrical Generating Capacity in 2013

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The latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects shows that renewables accounted for 37.16% of all new domestic electrical generating capacity installed in 2013. Solar led the way among those, second only to natural gas in generating capacity.

 

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects has released their latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report, and it brings good news for renewables!

The SUN DAY Campaign, a nonprofit research and educational organization that promotes sustainable energy technologies, issued a news advisory about the report. The advisory highlighted the increased adoption of renewables in 2013.

 

According to the report, renewable energy sources — like biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, and wind — accounted for 37.16% of all new domestic electrical generating capacity installed in 2013.

 

The total generating capacity for renewables installed last year was 5,279 MW. That’s more than three times the generating capacity for the year from coal (1,543 MW – 10.86%), oil (38 MW – 0.27%), and nuclear power (0 MW – 0.00%) combined.

 

Natural gas dominated 2013, with 51.17% of new capacity, at 7,270 MW.

 

But it was still a great year for renewables.

 

And which source led the way among renewable energy sources? That’s right, solar was in the lead! In 2013, solar accounted for 266 new “units,” totaling 2,936 MW.

 

Solar was followed by 18 units of wind, totaling 1,129 MW. Smaller amounts of capacity were added for biomass, water, and geothermal steam.

 

The newly installed capacity being provided by solar is second only to that of natural gas. The new solar capacity in 2013 is 42.80% greater than for the same period in 2012.

 

For the two-year period of January 1, 2012 – December 31, 2013, 20,809 MW of renewable energy sources accounted for 47.38% of all new generation capacity placed in-service.

 

Renewable energy sources now account for 15.97% of total installed U.S. operating generating capacity. This is more than nuclear (9.25%) and oil (4.05%) combined. Water accounts for the largest portion of this total, at 8.44%, with solar coming in at 0.64%.  

 

“Renewable energy sources are leaving coal, oil, and nuclear power in the dust as new sources of electrical generating capacity while challenging natural gas’ current dominance,” said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “The growth of renewables is likely to accelerate as the costs for new solar and wind, in particular, continue to drop, making them ever more competitive with fossil fuels and nuclear power.”