Ending a year-long race that had been nip-and tuck every month, renewable energy sources cumulatively provided more new electric generating capacity in 2014 than did natural gas.
According to the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Office of Energy Projects, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, wind) provided nearly half (49.81% – 7,663 MW) of new electrical generation brought into service during 2014 while natural gas accounted for 48.65% (7,485 MW).
By comparison, in 2013, natural gas accounted for 46.44% (7,378 MW) of new electrical generating capacity while renewables accounted for 43.03% (6,837 MW). New renewable energy capacity in 2014 is 12.08% more than that added in 2013.
New wind energy facilities accounted for over a quarter (26.52%) of added capacity (4,080 MW) in 2014 while solar power provided 20.40% (3,139 MW). Other renewables – biomass (254 MW), hydropower (158 MW), and geothermal (32 MW) – accounted for an additional 2.89%.
For the year, just a single coal facility (106 MW) came on-line; nuclear power expanded by a mere 71MW due to a plant upgrade; and only 15 small “units” of oil, totaling 47 MW, were added.
Thus, new capacity from renewable energy sources in 2014 is 34 times that from coal, nuclear and oil combined – or 72 times that from coal, 108 times that from nuclear, and 163 times that from oil.
Renewable energy sources now account for 16.63% of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S.: water – 8.42%, wind – 5.54%, biomass – 1.38%, solar – 0.96%, and geothermal steam – 0.33%. Renewable energy capacity is now greater than that of nuclear (9.14%) and oil (3.94%) combined. *
“Can there any longer be doubt about the emerging trends in new U.S. electrical capacity?” noted Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “Coal, oil, and nuclear have become historical relics and it is now a race between renewable sources and natural gas with renewables taking the lead.”
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released its most recent 5-page “Energy Infrastructure Update,” with data through December 31, 2014, on January 29, 2015. See the tables titled “New Generation In-Service (New Build and Expansion)” and “Total Installed Operating Generating Capacity” at:
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