Renewables provide 56 percent of new US generating capacity in first half 2014

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Solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydropower provided 55.7 percent of new installed U.S. electrical generating capacity during the first half of 2014 (1,965 MW of the 3,529 MW total installed), according to the latest "Energy Infrastructure Update" report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC’s) Office of Energy Projects.

Solar accounted for nearly one-third of new U.S. generating capacity thus far in 2014: 32.1 percent (1,131 MW). Wind provided 19.8 percent (699 MW), followed by biomass (2.5 percent at 87 MW), geothermal (0.9 percent at 32 MW) and hydropower (0.5 percent at 16 MW).

Most of the balance (1,555 MW at 44.1 percent) of the new generating capacity was provided by natural gas while no new coal or nuclear power capacity was reported.

The dominant role being played by renewables in providing new electrical generating capacity in 2014 is continuing a trend several years in the making. Since Jan. 1, 2012, renewable energy sources have accounted for nearly half (48 percent) or 22,774 MW of the 47,446 MW of new electrical generating capacity.

If calendar year 2011 is factored in, then renewables have accounted for some 45 percent of all new electrical generating capacity during the past three and a half years. Since Jan. 1, 2011, renewables have provided more new electrical generating capacity than natural gas (31,345 MW vs. 29,176 MW) and nearly four times than from coal (8,235 MW).

Renewable energy sources account for 16.28 percent of total installed U.S. operating generating capacity: water, 8.57 percent; wind, 5.26 percent; biomass, 1.37 percent; solar, 0.75 percent; and geothermal steam, 0.33 percent. This is up from 14.76 percent two years earlier (June 30, 2012) and is more than nuclear (9.24 percent) and oil (4.03 percent) combined.

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