70% Of New U.S. Generating Capacity Is From Renewables


Renewable energy sources accounted for nearly 70% of new electrical generation placed into service in the U.S. during the first six months of this year, according to government data compiled by nonprofit SUN DAY Campaign.

According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) Energy Infrastructure Update, 18 new units of wind accounted for nearly 2 GW of new generating capacity – or 50.64% of all new capacity year-to-date.

Among renewable sources, solar followed with 549 MW (71 units), biomass with 128 MW (7 units), geothermal steam with 45 MW (1 unit) and hydropower with 21 MW (1 unit). Twenty-one units of natural gas contributed 1,173 MW.

By comparison, FERC reported no new capacity for the year-to-date from oil or nuclear power and just 3 MW from one unit of coal. Therefore, the SUN DAY Campaign notes, new capacity from renewable energy sources during the first half of this year was 904 times greater than that from coal and more than double that from natural gas.

For the month of June alone, wind (320 MW), biomass (95 MW), and solar (62 MW) provided 97% of new capacity, with natural gas providing the balance (15 MW).

Renewable energy sources now account for 17.27% of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S.: water – 8.61%, wind – 5.84%, biomass – 1.40%, solar – 1.08% and geothermal steam – 0.34%.

Renewable electrical capacity is now greater than that of nuclear (9.20%) and oil (3.87%) combined. In fact, the installed capacity of wind power alone has now surpassed that of oil. On the other hand, generating capacity from coal has declined to 26.8% from 28.96% in 2013.

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