Renewable Sources Provide 75 Percent of New Generating Capacity in 1st Quarter

Thomas Schueneman

Wind energy leads the way in new generating capacity -

The latest Energy Infrastructure Update report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Office of Energy Projects confirms the continuing trend for the dominance of renewable energy sources in new electrical generating capacity.

Renewable sources of energy contribute more than 75 percent of  all new generating capacity for 1st quarter 2015

The report shows energy sources from wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower combined a total of 75 percent of all new generating capacity in the first quarter of 2015, for a total of 1,229 megawatts (MW) brought into service.

The bulk of this new capacity came from new wind projects. Eight "units" of wind came online with a combined capacity of 647 MW, or 52.64 percent of all new generating capacity for the 1st quarter. Solar brought 30 units of new capacity for 214 MW, followed by one unit each of geothermal steam and hydropower for 45 MW and 21 MW respectively.

The remainder came from 302 MW of of new generating capacity from natural gas. No new sources were reported for biomass, coal, oil or nuclear power.

First quarter 2015 growth of renewable energy generating capacity is similar to the same period last year when combined sources of clean energy provided 1,422 MW of new capacity. Natural gas for that period contributed 159 MW, 1 MW from oil and no new capacity from coal or nuclear.

Renewable energy sources now account for 16.92 percent of all installed operating capacity in the United States, more than nuclear (9.11 percent) and oil (3.92 percent) combined.

"The trend lines for the past several years have been consistent and unmistakable," noted Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. "Each month, renewable energy sources - particularly wind and solar - increase their share of the nation's generating capacity while those of coal, oil, and nuclear decline."

Image credit: Bob Jagendorf, courtesy flickr


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