Wind power provided over two-thirds (68.41%) of new U.S. electrical generating capacity in October, according to the latest Energy Infrastructure Update report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Specifically, the FERC statistics say five wind farms in Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska and Texas came online last month, accounting for 574 MW of new capacity.
In addition, seven ‘units’ of biomass (102 MW) and five units of solar (31 MW) came into service last month, accounting for 12.16% and 3.69% of new capacity, respectively. The balance came from three units of natural gas (132 MW – 15.73%).
The SUN DAY Campaign, a renewable energy advocacy group, notes that this represents the eighth time in the past 10 months that renewable energy sources accounted for the majority of new U.S. electrical generation brought into service. Natural gas took the lead in the other two months (April and August).
Of the 9,903 MW of new U.S. generating capacity from all sources installed since Jan. 1, 34 units of wind accounted for 2,189 MW (22.10%), followed by 208 units of solar (1,801 MW – 18.19%), 45 units of biomass (241 MW – 2.43%), seven units of hydropower (141 MW – 1.42%), and five units of geothermal (32 MW – 0.32%). In total, renewables have provided 44.47% of new U.S. electrical generating capacity thus far in 2014.
The balance came from 45 units of natural gas (5,373 MW – 54.26%), one unit of nuclear (71 MW – 0.72%), 15 units of oil (47 MW – 0.47%), and six units of ‘other’ (7 MW – 0.07%). There has been no new coal capacity added so far this year.
The SUN DAY Campaign says new capacity from renewable sources in 2014 is more than 37 times that from oil, coal and nuclear combined.Â
Renewable energy sources now account for 16.39% of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S.: hydro – 8.44%, wind – 5.39%, biomass – 1.38%, solar – 0.85% and geothermal steam – 0.33%. Renewable energy capacity is greater than that of nuclear (9.23%) and oil (3.97%) combined.
‘Congress is debating whether to renew the production tax credit for wind and other renewable energy sources,’ notes Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign. ‘The continued rapid growth of these technologies confirms that the PTC has proven to be a very sound investment.’