Renewables provided 55.7% of new installed U.S. electrical generating capacity during the first half of this year (1,965 MW of the 3,529 MW total installed), 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 says solar alone has accounted for nearly one-third of new U.S. generating capacity thus far in 2014: 32.1% (1,131 MW). Wind provided 19.8% (699 MW), followed by biomass (2.5% – 87 MW), geothermal (0.9% – 32 MW) and hydropower (0.5% – 16 MW). Most of the balance (1,555 MW – 44.1%) of the new generating capacity was provided by natural gas, while no new coal or nuclear power capacity was reported.
The SUN DAY Campaign says the dominant role being played by renewables in providing new electrical generating capacity this year is continuing a trend now several years in the making. Over the past 30 months (i.e., since Jan. 1, 2012), renewable energy sources have accounted for almost half (48.0%), or 22,774 MW, of the 47,446 MW of new electrical generating capacity.
If calendar-year 2011 is also factored in, SUN DAY says renewables have accounted for approximately 45% of all new electrical generating capacity over the past three-and-a-half years. In fact, the group says since Jan.1, 2011, renewables have provided more new electrical generating capacity than natural gas (31,345 MW vs. 29,176 MW) and nearly four times that from coal (8,235 MW).
Renewable energy sources now account for 16.28% of total installed U.S. operating generating capacity: hydro – 8.57%, wind – 5.26%, biomass – 1.37%, solar – 0.75%, and geothermal steam – 0.33%. SUN DAY says this is up from 14.76% two years earlier (i.e., June 30, 2012) and is now more than nuclear (9.24%) and oil (4.03%) combined.