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Renewable Energy Provides 100 Percent of New Electrical Generation in July

Tom Schueneman's picture

Environmental writer, journalist and web publisher. Founder of

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  • Aug 28, 2014

Data from the latest Energy Infrastructure Update report just released from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects shows that 100 percent of new U.S. electrical generating capacity put into service for July came from renewable energy sources. Those sources include 379 megawatts (MW) from wind energy, 21 MW of solar power and 5 MW of hydropower.

new generationJuly follows on the trend of previous months of 2014. For the first seven months of the year renewable energy sources contributed 53.8 percent of all new electrical generating capacity, for a total of 4,758 MW coming online. Of that, solar and wind account for more than one quarter each of the total with 25.8 and 25.1 percent respectively. Biomass added 1.8 percent, geothermal 0.7 percent and hydropower 0.4 percent. The bulk of the rest of new generation capacity in 2014 – 45.9 percent – came from natural gas, while a scant 0.3 percent came from oil and “other” sources. None of those other sources were coal or nuclear, which has added no new generating capacity to date in 2014.

“This is not the first time in recent years that all new electrical generating capacity for a given month has come from renewable energy sources,” noted Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “And it is likely to become an ever more frequent occurrence in the months and years ahead.”

The installed generating capacity from renewable sources of energy is now 16.3 percent of the U.S. total. The breakdown is 8.57 percent from hydro, 5.26 percent from wind, 1.37 percent from biomass, 0.75 percent from solar and 0.33 from geothermal.

Image credit: Jonathan Potts, courtesy flickr

The post Renewable Energy Provides 100 Percent of New Electrical Generation in July appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

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Schalk Cloete's picture
Schalk Cloete on Aug 29, 2014

Just to put this sensationalist headline into perspective:

The energy infrastructure update reports 699 MW of wind and 1131 MW of solar coming online in the first half of 2014. If we assume that, due to capacity factor considerations, wind capacity generates about half of conventional capacity per MW and solar capacity generates about a third of conventional capacity per MW, we can estimate that wind and solar displaced about 727 MW of conventional generation in the first half of the year (assuming stagnant demand).

Considering that the US has 1161720 MW of (mostly conventional) capacity, it can be estimated that wind and solar will need 800 years to displace all conventional generation at this rate of deployment. It should also be noted that both wind and solar deployment rates are down from H1 2013. 

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Aug 30, 2014

If we assume the US’s current 62 GWatt wind capacity has an average lifetime of 25 years, then we must eventually install 62/25= 2.5 GWatts per year just to stay in one place.  As reported by the AWEA, since the 2012 expiration of the federal wind subsidy, we’ve struggled to hit 1 GW/year.

A new (and temporary) subsidy is supposed to produce a wind construction surge near the end of this year, and into next, but that may be end of the subsidy road.

The industry group SEIA has data for US solar deployments (including home and off-grid). Solar has much higher costs than wind, and is equallly dependent on subsidies and other more subtle incentive policies.   They report 1.3 GW of PV in 1Q2014, and 4.8 GW total for 2013.  Compared to the US 1162 GW capacity, the 2013 total gives a replacement rate of 726 years (adjusting for capacity factor), a bit better than 800; but when we consider solar with energy storage, then once again the replacement rate is near zero.

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