New U.S. Generating Capacity In 2014 Was Overwhelmingly Natural Gas, Wind And Solar


Virginia-based market analysis firm SNL Financial reports wind and solar combined almost equaled natural gas in its total addition to the U.S. generating capacity.

New generating capacity added 15,450 MW to the U.S. generating fleet in 2014, the report says, which was slightly more than the 15,028 MW added the year previous.

Looking at 2014's new capacity by fuel type, slightly more than half – 7,902 MW – was gas-fired. A number of new gas plants were built as replacements to older, usually coal-fired units that were retired.

Wind accounted for the second-largest amount of capacity added – almost 3,815 MW – during the year. As wind developers rushed to capitalize on the brief extension of the production tax credit, the month of December saw almost one-third of all of 2014's wind capacity additions.

New solar capacity in 2014 totaled 3,240 MW. Solar installations have benefited from decreasing system costs. Citing data from the Solar Energy Industries Association, SNL Financial says the national weighted-average system cost for residential and utility-scale solar facilities declined nearly 4% in 2014.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. topped the list of largest amount of capacity additions by company in 2014, SNL Financial says. Through regulated utility subsidiaries MidAmerican Energy Co. and PacifiCorp, as well as competitive supply subsidiary MidAmerican Solar LLC, the company added 1,844 MW, of which 69% was wind and solar. New capacity included the gas-fired Lake Side 2 plant in Utah, serving PacifiCorp, and the Topaz and Solar Star solar facilities in California.

SNL Financial's full report and related analysis can be found here.

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