Renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydropower, accounted for 37.16% of all new domestic electrical generating capacity installed during calendar-year 2013 for a total of 5,279 MW, according to the latest Energy Infrastructure Update report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Citing the FERC statistics, renewable energy advocacy group the SUN DAY Campaign notes that is more than three times that provided for the year by coal (1,543 MW – 10.86%), oil (38 MW – 0.27%) and nuclear power (0 MW – 0.00%) combined. However, natural gas dominated 2013, with 7,270 MW of new capacity (51.17%). Waste heat provided the balance of new generating capacity – 76 MW (0.53%).
Among renewable energy sources, the FERC report says solar led the way in 2013 with 266 new ‘units’ totaling 2,936 MW, followed by wind with 18 units totaling 1,129 MW. Biomass added 97 new units totaling 777 MW, while water had 19 new units with an installed capacity of 378 MW and geothermal steam had four new units (59 MW).
For the two-year period between Jan. 1, 2012 and Dec.31, 2013, renewable energy sources accounted for 47.38% of all new generation capacity placed in service (20,809 MW). In addition, renewables now account for 15.97% of total installed U.S. operating generating capacity: water – 8.44%, wind – 5.20%, biomass – 1.36%, solar – 0.64%, and geothermal steam – 0.33%. This is more than nuclear (9.25%) and oil (4.05%) combined.
‘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,’ comments 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.’