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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.

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.

July 28th 2017
Major Realignment In Motorsport As Porsche Prioritises Formula E Over Le Mans

Significant changes in motorsport are taking place as Porsche implements its strategy to develop a combination of pure GT vehicles and fully electric sports cars, such as the first fully battery-powered Mission E road car. “Entering Formula E and achieving success in this category are the logical outcomes of our Mission E”, says Michael Steiner, Executive Board Member, R&D at Porsche AG. “For us, Formula E is the ultimate competitive environment for driving forward the development of high-performance vehicles in areas such as environmental friendliness, efficiency and sustainability”.

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%).

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”.