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.”

August 5th 2017
Invenergy, GE Renewable Energy Announce 2GW Facility: Largest Wind Farm In US

Invenergy and GE Renewable Energy have announced a 2GW wind farm that will be the largest in the U.S. and second-largest in the world, once operational, in 2020. The Wind Catcher facility is under construction in the Oklahoma panhandle and will use 800 state-of-the-art GE 2.5 MW turbines. It will link more than 1.1 million customers with wind energy harvested domestically, saving them more than $7 billion, and will support 4,000 direct and 4,400 indirect jobs annually during construction and 80 permanent jobs once operational. “Wind Catcher shows American leadership in bringing low-cost clean energy to market at Giga scale,” said Invenergy’s Founder and CEO Michael Polsky.

August 4th 2017
Enel Awarded 339 MW Of Solar Capacity In Spanish Renewables Tender

Enel S.p.A., acting through its Spanish subsidiary Endesa’s renewable company Enel Green Power España (EGPE), has been awarded 339 MW of solar capacity in Spain. The award followed the tender aiming at collecting 3 GW from renewable energies, launched by the Spanish Government to help the country achieve its target to cover 20% of energy consumption from renewables by 2020. The solar capacity adds to the 540 MW of wind power capacity that EGPE was already awarded last May. “This new milestone confirms our commitment to green energy in Spain, a country which continues to offer growth opportunities for our renewable projects,” said Antonio Cammisecra, Enel’s Head of Global Renewable Energies.

August 17th 2017
Siemens Gamesa Installs Asia’s Tallest Turbines, Whilst Stepping Up Integration

Siemens Gamesa has set a new record in Asia by installing this year the tallest wind turbines on the continent. The turbines are equipped with 153-metre tall towers, and with the 56-metre blades, they reach a total height of 210 metres. Presently, a major focus for the company is the integration of the entities of Siemens and Gamesa. This has the objective of realising the new company’s substantial potential, thanks to its bigger scale and global reach: a presence in more than 90 countries, an installed base of 75 GW, and an order book of €21bn.

August 9th 2017
35% Of German Electricity Consumption Now From Renewables: Grid Challenges Ahead

The Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research in Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) have stated in an initial assessment that electricity generated from clean energy accounted for 35% of Germany’s consumption in 1H 2017. It’s the first time that this mark has been reached. The total share of electricity generated from renewables was up 2% from last year. The growth from onshore wind was 13.6%; offshore wind saw the steepest growth at 47.5%; growth from biomass increased by 2.2%, whilst the growth from PV systems was 13.5%, compared with the 1H 2016.

August 14th 2017
Offshore Wind Drives 6.1 GW Of European Wind Installations In First Half Of 2017

6.1 GW of extra wind energy capacity was installed in Europe in the first half of 2017, according to figures released by WindEurope. The figure puts Europe on course for a bumper year for installations, although hides some worrying trends. WindEurope Chief Policy Officer, Pierre Tardieu, said: “We are on track for a good year in wind capacity installations but growth is driven by a handful of markets. At least ten EU countries have yet to install a single MW so far this year. Although this won’t translate into lower installations for another few years, the industry needs clarity on volumes for the post-2020 period to maintain the current cost reduction trend”.