Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Renewable Energy Accounts for 70% of New U.S. Generating Capacity in First Half of 2015

Business
Renewable Energy Accounts for 70% of New U.S. Generating Capacity in First Half of 2015

In yet another clear indication of the nation's energy future, renewable sources—biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind—accounted for nearly 70 percent (69.75 percent) of new electrical generation placed in service in the U.S. during the first six months of 2015.

New capacity from renewable energy sources during the first half of 2015 is 904 times greater than that from coal and more than double that from natural gas.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

According to the recently-released "Energy Infrastructure Update" report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) Office of Energy Projects, 18 new "units" of wind accounted for 1,969 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity—or more than half of all new capacity year-to-date. Among renewable sources, solar followed with 549 MW (71 units), biomass 128 MW (7 units), geothermal steam 45 MW (1 unit) and hydropower 21 MW (1 unit). Twenty-one units of natural gas contributed 1,173 MW.

FERC reported no new capacity for the year-to-date from oil or nuclear power and just 3 MW from one unit of coal. Thus, new capacity from renewable energy sources during the first half of 2015 is 904 times greater than that from coal and more than double that from natural gas.

For the month of June alone, wind (320 MW), biomass (95 MW) and solar (62 MW) provided 97 percent of new capacity with natural gas providing the balance (15 MW).

Renewable energy sources now account for 17.27 percent of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S.: water at 8.61 percent, wind at 5.84 percent, biomass at 1.40 percent, solar at 1.08 percent and geothermal steam at 0.34 percent (for comparison, renewables were 16.28 percent of capacity in June 2014 and 15.81 percent in June 2013).

Renewable electrical capacity is now greater than that of nuclear (9.20 percent) and oil (3.87 percent) combined. In fact, the installed capacity of wind power alone has now surpassed that of oil. On the other hand, generating capacity from coal has declined from 28.96 percent in mid-2013 to 26.83 percent today.

With Congress now debating whether to extend the federal tax incentives for renewable energy sources, it is reasonable to ask whether the American public has gotten a good return on these investments to date. The latest FERC data confirms that the answer is a resounding yes!

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

And the Cheapest Electricity in America Is … Solar

Does Elon Musk’s Tesla Model S ‘Signal the Beginning of the End for Oil?’

Coal Is No Longer King in America, Says EIA Report

A replica of a titanosaur. AIZAR RALDES / AFP via Getty Images

New fossils uncovered in Argentina may belong to one of the largest animals to have walked on Earth.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Trump's Affordable Clean Energy rule eliminated a provision mandating that utilities move away from coal. VisionsofAmerica /Joe Sohm / Getty Images

A federal court on Tuesday struck down the Trump administration's rollback of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A wild mink in Utah was the first wild animal in the U.S. found with COVID-19. Peter Trimming via Wikipedia, CC BY-SA

By Jonathan Runstadler and Kaitlin Sawatzki

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have found coronavirus infections in pet cats and dogs and in multiple zoo animals, including big cats and gorillas. These infections have even happened when staff were using personal protective equipment.

Read More Show Less
A mass methane release could begin an irreversible path to full land-ice melt. NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty Images

By Peter Giger

The speed and scale of the response to COVID-19 by governments, businesses and individuals seems to provide hope that we can react to the climate change crisis in a similarly decisive manner - but history tells us that humans do not react to slow-moving and distant threats.

Read More Show Less
Doug Emhoff, U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Jill Biden and President-elect Joe Biden wave as they arrive on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol for the inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By John R. Platt

The period of the 45th presidency will go down as dark days for the United States — not just for the violent insurgency and impeachment that capped off Donald Trump's four years in office, but for every regressive action that came before.

Read More Show Less