20 February 2017 2017 03:45 PM GMT

Renewables Provide 23% Of US Electrical Generation, As Wind, Solar Grow Rapidly

According to the latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) “Electric Power Monthly” report (with data through December 31, 2016), renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) continued their rapid growth and accounted for 15.34% of domestic electrical generation in 2016 — compared to 13.65% in 2015. Moreover, the growth in renewables once again handily surpassed EIA’s earlier forecasts for the sector.

In its “Short-Term Energy Outlook” (STEO) released on January 12, 2016, EIA said it “expect[ed] total renewables used in the electric power sector to increase by 9.5% in 2016.” In fact, in 2016, electrical output by renewables (including hydropower) increased by 12.56% while non-hydro renewables grew by 17.26%. EIA also forecast wind capacity “to increase by 14% in 2016.” In actuality, generation expanded by 18.75 % and provided 5.53% of domestic electrical output last year. Similarly, EIA “forecast hydropower generation in the electric power sector [to] increase by 4.8% in 2016.” In reality, hydro’s electrical production rose by 6.72%.

EIA’s January 2016 STEO did not offer a projection for solar in 2016 but its December 2015 STEO forecast “utility-scale solar power [to] average 0.8% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2016.” Utility-scale solar generation in 2016 actually exceeded 0.90% while utility-scale and distributed solar combined accounted for 1.37% of total electrical output. In fact, electrical output by utility-scale plus distributed solar grew by 44.04% in 2016 compared to 2015.

By comparison, electrical generation by coal dropped by 8.30% and that from petroleum liquids & coke plummeted by 15.37%. (Solar-generated electricity is now more than double that from petroleum sources.) Electrical output attributable to natural gas and other gases increased by just 3.47% while growth in the nuclear power sector was an anaemic 1.02%.

Beyond the growth experienced by solar, wind, and hydropower, geothermal also charted a 9.41% expansion in 2016. Among renewable sources, only wood and other forms of biomass experienced a decline last year – down by 1.67%.

Taken together, non-hydro renewables (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) accounted for 8.85% of electrical generation in 2016. Nonetheless, in its latest STEO (issued February 7, 2017), EIA inexplicably states: “Non-hydropower renewables are forecast to provide 9% of electricity generation in 2017.” That is, EIA apparently anticipates no significant increase by non-hydro renewables in 2017 notwithstanding the sustained strong growth by these technologies in 2016 and during the several years prior.

“Given the trends of recent years, it is probably no great surprise that solar, wind, and other renewable sources once again surpassed EIA’s expectations,” noted Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “Yet, EIA continues to low-ball its latest forecasts for renewables thereby doing a serious disservice to the cross-section of rapidly growing clean energy technologies.”

June 20th 2017
EDF, Canadian Solar Join Forces For One Of The Largest Solar Projects In LATAM

EDF Energies Nouvelles has acquired an 80% interest in the Pirapora II PV project (115 MWp) from Canadian Solar Inc., which is retaining a 20% stake and manufacturing the PV panels locally. It marks the latest step by EDF in Brazil’s renewable energy sector. With this addition, it now has 489 MW under construction, consisting of 183 MW (wind) and 306 MWp (solar). The project is located close to Pirapora I (191 MWp), also jointly owned by both companies. With a total installed capacity of over 300 MWp, the energy generated by both projects will cover the annual electricity consumption of 323,000 Brazilian homes.

May 21st 2017
US Wind And Solar Surge: Providing Majority of New Generating Capacity Q1 2017

According to the latest issue of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) “Energy Infrastructure Update” (with data through March 31, 2017), wind and solar provided 50.84% of the new electrical generating capacity added to the U.S. grid during the first quarter of 2017. Significantly, renewables power sources are now almost 20% of the total US electrical generating capacity. If current growth rates continue, renewables should top 20% before the end of this year. Generating capacity from renewable sources is now more than double that of nuclear power (9.10%) and rapidly approaching that of coal (24.25%).

June 23rd 2017
Indian Firm Wins 1.8GW Sweihan Order; The Largest Solar PV Project In The World

Indian company Sterling and Wilson has won the contract for the world’s largest single location solar PV project. The Sweihan project in Abu Dhabi is for turnkey EPC as well as O&M; and is jointly developed by Japanese investment firm Marubeni, Chinese solar company Jinko Solar, and Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA). It will deliver a capacity of 1177 MWp, surpassing the current largest 850 MWp single location plant in China. In March 2017, Marubeni and Jinko had signed a 25-year PPA with ADWEA on a tariff of $0.0242/kWh, making Sweihan also the plant with the lowest electricity price so far.

May 21st 2017
Russia: Abundance Of Renewables Can Fuel Growth; Quadruple Clean Energy By 2030

Russia can increase the share of renewables in its energy mix from roughly 3 percent today to more than 11 percent by 2030, according to new findings by IRENA. The growth in renewable energy use would represent nearly a fourfold increase in the share of renewables between 2014 and 2030. To implement the study’s recommendations, an annual investment of approximately USD 15 billion per year between 2015 and 2050 is required, but IRENA shows that the benefits can exceed costs when externalities related to human health and climate change are considered. According to current estimates Russia has the largest wind potential in the world.

June 7th 2017
Solar Power Exceeds Wind Installations; Can Surpass 80GW In 2017, 1TW In 2021

SolarPower Europe (SPE) has launched the ‘Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2017-2021.’ The report confirms 2016 as another record year for solar, with global annual additions for solar growing by 50% with 76.6 GW installed. There’s now a total worldwide solar power generation capacity of 306.5 GW. James Watson, CEO of SPE said: “When looking at solar, the cost reductions experienced and predicted outstrip all other power generation technologies. Today, utility-scale solar is already cheaper than new gas, coal and nuclear power plants.”