ees 2019
27 November 2018 2018 02:22 PM GMT

Solar And Wind Provide 100% Of New Generating Capacity Additions In September

According to an analysis by the SUN DAY Campaign of data just released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), solar and wind were the only energy sources adding new capacity to the U.S. electricity generation mix in September. Three “units” of new wind accounted for 363-MW while nine units of solar provided 339-MW.

Wind power’s share of the nation’s total available  installed generating capacity is now 7.71% while that of utility-scale solar is nearing 3% (i.e., 2.91%).* Combined with biomass, geothermal, and hydropower, renewable energy sources now account for 20.76% of the nation’s total installed operating generating capacity – more than double that of nuclear power (9.05%) and rapidly approaching that of coal (22.55%).** 

However, FERC’s latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” (with data through September 30, 2018) also reports that for the first three-quarters of 2018, natural gas (12,110-MW) accounted for two-thirds (66.77%) of all new electrical generating capacity added this year. Solar came in second place (3,043-MW: 16.78%) and followed by wind (2,747-MW: 15.15%).

The balance of new capacity year-to-date was provided by a mix of other sources — waste heat: 80-MW; biomass: 66-MW; hydropower: 33- MW; geothermal: 21-MW; oil: 18-MW; coal: 10-MW; “other”: 5-MW; and nuclear: 4-MW.

However, notwithstanding natural gas’ dominance thus far in 2018, the trend lines reported by FERC continue to strongly favour wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources.

Comparing the data in FERC’s latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” with that released five years earlier, natural gas generating capacity has increased by 7.10% rising from a 41.98% share in 2013 to 43.95% in 2018. However, the generating capacity of renewable sources has grown by 35.58%, expanding its share from 15.68% to 20.76%. Wind generating capacity alone has expanded by 52.40% over the past half-decade while that of solar has mushroomed more than five-fold (i.e., by 552.31%)

Moreover, over the next three years (i.e., through October 2021), FERC reports that — based on “proposed generation additions and retirements” — coal will experience a net reduction in capacity of 19,238-MW while gas will experience a net growth of 67,406-MW. Oil generating capacity will also increase by 562-MW yielding a net increase in fossil fuels’ generating capacity of 48,730-MW. Net nuclear capacity will see a decline (19-MW).

By comparison, over the same period, the net new generating capacity of renewable sources will be three to four times greater than that of fossil fuels and nuclear power: 167,259-MW (wind: 89,830-MW, solar: 61,621-MW, hydropower:  14,263-MW, geothermal: 1,076-MW, and biomass: 469-MW).  

 In fact, over the past nine months since the release of its “Energy Infrastructure Update” for January 2018,  FERC has dramatically revised down its projections for “proposed” net new fossil fuel and nuclear power capacity while significantly increasing those for renewables. Comparing FERC’s January and September data, net coal retirements are listed as increasing from 14,036-MW to 19,238-MW while net natural gas additions have been reduced from 82,719-MW to 67,406-MW. For nuclear power, instead of a net increase of 1,754-MW, FERC now lists a net loss of 19-MW.

On the other hand, new data for renewable sources reflects 167,259-MW in net additions compared to the earlier forecast of 145,681-MW — an increase of almost 15% (i.e., 14.81%) in just nine months. Proposed net additions for wind have increased from 83,366-MW to 89,830- MW while those for solar have risen from 47,946-MW to 61,621-MW.

* FERC only reports data for utility-scale facilities (i.e., those rated 1-MW or greater) and therefore its data does not reflect the capacity of distributed renewables, notably rooftop solar PV which accounts for approximately 30% of the nation’s installed solar capacity.

** Capacity is not the same as actual generation. Capacity factors for nuclear power and fossil fuels tend to be higher than those for most renewables. For the first two-thirds of 2018, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that renewables accounted for more than 18% of the nation’s total electrical generation – that is, a bit less than their share of installed generating capacity.

FERC’s 6-page “Energy Infrastructure Update for September 2018” was released on November 5, 2018. It can be found here.  For the information cited in this update, see the tables entitled “New Generation In-Service (New Build and Expansion),” “Total Available Installed Generating Capacity,” and “Proposed Generation Additions and Retirements by October 2021.

December 11th 2018
Corporate Sourcing of Renewables Growing, Taking Place in 75 Countries

Companies in 75 countries actively sourced 465 terawatt hours (TWh) of renewable energy in 2017, an amount close to the overall electricity demand of France, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). With the continued decline in the costs of renewables, the report suggests, corporate demand will continue to increase as companies seek to reduce electricity bills, hedge against future price spikes and address sustainability concerns.

November 27th 2018
Solar And Wind Provide 100% Of New Generating Capacity Additions In September

US – According to an analysis by the SUN DAY Campaign of data just released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), solar and wind were the only energy sources adding new capacity to the U.S. electricity generation mix in September. Three “units” of new wind accounted for 363-MW while nine units of solar provided 339-MW.

January 10th 2018
US: Doubling Of Wind & Solar Capacity Possible By 2020 as Coal & Nuclear Drop

In the latest issue of its “Energy Infrastructure Update” (with data through November 30, 2017), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) notes that proposed net additions to generating capacity by utility-scale wind and solar could total 115,984 megawatts (MW) by December 2020 – effectively doubling their current installed capacity of 115,520 MW.  The numbers were released as FERC prepares for a January 10 meeting to consider U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal for a bailout of the coal and nuclear industries.

December 6th 2017
Renewables Provide 17.8% Of Total US Electricity. Solar Now 2.0% And Wind 6.0%

According to the latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) “Electric Power Monthly” report, U.S. electrical generation from renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar – inc. distributed solar, wind) rose by 14.69% during the first three-quarters of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. Simultaneously, electrical generation by fossil fuels and nuclear power combined declined by 5.41%. Nuclear power and coal both dropped by 1.5%, natural gas (including “other” gas) was down by 10.7%, and oil (i.e., petroleum liquids and petroleum coke) plunged by 17.1%.

November 11th 2018
IRENA: Innovation Front and Centre, As Leaders Shape the Future Energy System

Participants from more than 80 countries explored the disruptive innovations in digitalisation and decentralisation that are transforming energy systems around the world. Remarkable cost reductions driven by technological innovation and an increasingly conducive policy environment have made renewable energy increasingly competitive with conventional fuels in many parts of the world. In parallel, innovations such as the Internet of Things, blockchain, artificial intelligence, smart charging of electric vehicles, and hydrogen power and storage are making energy systems increasingly integrated and flexible and are supporting the transition to a renewable-powered future.

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