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United States: Renewable energy provides 37% of new US generating capacity in 2013

Published at: Jan 28, 2014
source: Today's Energy Solutions

published by

New renewable capacity more than triple coal, oil, and nuclear power combined.

According to the latest "Energy Infrastructure Update" report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Office of Energy Projects, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) accounted for 37.16% of all new domestic electrical generating capacity installed during calendar-year 2013 for a total of 5,279MW.

That is more than three-times that provided for the year by coal (1,543MW - 10.86%), oil (38MW - 0.27%), and nuclear power (0MW - 0.00%) combined. However, natural gas dominated 2013 with 7,270MW of new capacity (51.17%).  Waste heat provided the balance of new generating capacity - 76MW (0.53%).

Among renewable energy sources, solar led the way in 2013 with 266 new units totaling 2,936MW followed by wind with 18 units totaling 1,129MW. Biomass added 97 new units totaling 777MW while water had 19 new units with an installed capacity of 378MW and geothermal steam had four new units (59MW).

The newly installed capacity being provided by the solar units is second only to that of natural gas. The new solar capacity in 2013 is 42.80% higher than that for the same period in 2012.

For the two-year period (January 1, 2012 - December 31, 2013), renewable energy sources accounted for 47.38% of all new generation capacity placed in-service (20,809MW).

Renewable energy sources now account for 15.97% of total installed U.S. operating generating capacity:  water - 8.44%, wind - 5.20%, biomass - 1.36%, solar - 0.64%, and geothermal steam - 0.33%.  This is more than nuclear (9.25%) and oil (4.05%) combined. *

"Renewable energy sources are leaving coal, oil, and nuclear power in the dust as new sources of electrical generating capacity while challenging natural gas' current dominance," concluded Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign. "The growth of renewables is likely to accelerate as the costs for new solar and wind, in particular, continue to drop making them ever more competitive with fossil fuels and nuclear power."

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