21 May 2017 2017 09:15 AM GMT

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) monthly “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.

Thirteen “units” of wind totalling 1,479 MW combined with 62 units of solar (939 MW) exceeded the 2,235 MW provided by 21 units of natural gas and 102 MW provided by one unit of nuclear power. There was also 1-MW of capacity from “other” sources (e.g., fuel cells). In the first three months of the year, no new generating capacity was provided by coal, oil, hydropower, biomass, or geothermal.

Moreover, the pace of growth of new solar and wind capacity is accelerating. For the first quarter of 2017, new capacity from those sources is 18.07% greater than that added during the same three-month period in 2016 (2,418 MW vs. 2048 MW). Renewable sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, and wind) now account for almost one-fifth (19.51%) of the nation’s total available installed generating capacity: hydropower (8.48%), wind (7.12%), solar (2.17%), biomass (1.41%), and geothermal (0.33%). By comparison, at the end of 2016, renewables provided 19.17% of the total 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%).  

It is to be noted that generating capacity is not the same as actual generation. Electrical production per MW of available capacity (i.e., capacity factor) for renewables is often lower than that for fossil fuels and nuclear power. As noted, the total installed operating generating capacity provided by renewables in 2017 is now 19.51% of the nation’s total whereas actual electrical generation from renewables for the first two months of 2017 (according to the latest U.S. Energy Information Administration figures) is roughly 18.2%. However, both of these figures understate renewables’ actual contribution because neither EIA nor FERC fully accounts for all electricity generated by smaller-scale, distributed renewable energy sources. FERC’s data, for example, is limited to plants with a nameplate capacity of 1 MW or greater and thereby fail to include distributed sources such as rooftop solar.

“The Trump Administration’s efforts to reboot coal and expand oil drilling continue to be proven wrong-headed in light of the latest FERC data,” noted Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “Once more, renewables – led by wind and solar – have proven themselves to be the energy sources making America great again.”  The SUN DAY Campaign is a non-profit research and educational organization founded in 1992 to aggressively promote sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels.

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 23rd 2017
Wind Power Can Provide Energy On Coldest Days: Met Office, Imperial College

A new study by climate scientists has advanced the understanding of the potential for wind power to provide energy during the coldest spells of winter weather. The team, which involved scientists from the Met Office Hadley Centre, Imperial College London and the University of Reading, compared wind power availability with electricity demand in winter and they found an interesting result. The team found that during the highest 5% of energy demand days, one-third produce more wind power than the winter average. “The very coldest days are associated with a mix of different weather patterns, some of which produce high winds in parts of the UK.

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%).

April 21st 2017
Renewables For Philippines: Accelerated Development And Energy Independence

A new report released by the IRENA, says that renewable energy policy making and institutional evolution can support Philippines’ development momentum and allow it to achieve energy independence. “Like many countries in its region, the Philippines faces a growing population and rising energy demand to power economic growth. Uniquely, the archipelago is also frequently exposed to tropical storms and natural disasters that affect its energy structure. Renewable energy can play a role in helping the country achieve greater energy security and distribution despite these challenges,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin.

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.”