Another Month, Another Milestone for Renewables — 92% of New U.S. Capacity in Q1 2014

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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects reports that in March, solar, wind, and hydropower provided 84.5% of new installed U.S. electrical generating capacity. For Q1 2014, the total is even higher, at 92.1%.

According to the latest Energy Infrastructure Update report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects, solar, wind, and hydropower provided 84.5% of new installed U.S. electrical generating capacity in March. Of that, 151 MW came from solar, 93 MW from wind, and 1 MW from hydropower.

By comparison, natural gas provided 45 MW of new electrical generating capacity.

 

Especially significant was the amount of new capacity provided by coal, oil, or nuclear power — none. Zero. Zilch.  

 

Even with the natural gas portion, the upshot is that in March, renewables provided more than five times as much new capacity as fossil fuels.

 

The story for the first three months of 2014 is similar. During that time, renewable energy sources (biomass, geothermal, solar, water, and wind) accounted for 92.1% of the 1,150 MW of new domestic electrical generating installed. This was made up of solar (584 MW), wind (427 MW), geothermal steam (30 MW),  biomass (10 MW), and water (8 MW).

 

And again, coal, oil, and nuclear accounted for no new capacity. The balance came from 90 MW of  natural gas and 1 MW of “other.”

 

Where does that put the total installed U.S. operating generating capacity from renewable energy sources? They now account for 16.3% of the total. With water at 8.58%, wind at 5.27%, biomass at 1.37%, solar at 0.75%, and geothermal steam at 0.33%, that comes to more than nuclear (9.25%) and oil (4.04%) combined. (Of course, generating capacity is not the same as actual generation from renewable energy sources, which is at about 13% in the U.S.)

 

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“Another month, another milestone for renewable energy!” said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign, in a press release today. “The latest FERC data continues a trend that has dominated the agency’s monthly reports on new generating capacity for several years and appears unlikely to abate anytime soon.”