Renewable energy, including wind, solar, biomass and hydropower, provided 88.2% of new installed U.S. electrical generating capacity for the month of May, 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 two new ‘units’ of wind power provided 203 MW, five units of solar provided 156 MW, one unit of biomass provided 5 MW, and one unit of hydropower provided 0.2 MW.
By comparison, two new units of natural gas provided just 49 MW, while no new capacity was provided by coal, oil or nuclear power. Thus, for the month, SUN DAY says renewables provided more than seven times the amount of new capacity as that from fossil fuels and nuclear power.
For the first five months of 2014, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, water and wind) accounted for 54.1% of the 3,136 MW of new domestic electrical generation installed. This was made up of solar (907 MW), wind (678 MW), biomass (73 MW), geothermal steam (32 MW) and hydro (8 MW).
During the same time period, coal and nuclear provided no new capacity, while 1,437 MW of natural gas, 1 MW of oil and 1 MW of ‘other’ provided the balance.
SUN DAY says that since Jan. 1, 2012, renewable energy sources have accounted for nearly half (47.83%) of all new installed U.S. electrical generating capacity. This was followed by natural gas (38.34%) and coal (13.40%), with oil, waste heat, and ‘other’ accounting for the balance.
Renewable energy sources, including hydropower, now account for 16.28% of total installed U.S. operating generating capacity: water – 8.57%, wind – 5.26%, biomass – 1.37%, solar – 0.75%, and geothermal steam – 0.33%. This is more than nuclear (9.24%) and oil (4.03%) combined.
‘Some are questioning whether it's possible to satisfy the U.S. [Environmental Protection Agency's] new CO2 reduction goals with renewable energy sources and improved energy efficiency,’ says Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign. ‘The latest FERC data and the explosion of new renewable energy generating capacity during the past several years unequivocally confirm that it can be done.’