Solar Today Spring 2016 : Page 26

good news you can use Energy Infrastructure Update Renewable sources accounted for almost two-thirds of new electrical generation placed in service in the U.S. during calendar year 2015, and 17.83% of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S. by Ken Bosson Ken Bosson ( sun-day-campaign@hotmail.com) is Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign, a non-profit research and information organization working on renewable energy and energy efficiency issues. He is a consultant to American Councils and IREX on the selection and placement of scholars from the United States, the former Soviet Union, and Africa working on environmental and other policy issues. he Federal Energy Regulatory Commission For perspective, when FERC issued its very first released its most recent 7-page “Energy "Energy Infrastructure Update" in December 2010, Infrastructure Update,” with data through renewable sources accounted for only 13.71% of total December 31, 2015, on February 2, 2016. installed operating generation capacity. Over the past Setting a new annual record, renewable sources five years, solar's share has increased 12-fold (1.20% vs. (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) 0.10%) while that from wind has nearly doubled (6.31% accounted for almost two-thirds (63.85%) of the 16,485 vs. 3.40%). During the same period, coal's share of the megawatts (MW) of new electrical generation placed in nation's generating capacity plummeted from 30.37% service in the United States during calendar year 2015. to 26.16%. According to the just-released latest monthly Finally, for the first time, installed electrical capac-"Energy Infrastructure Update" report from the Fed-ity from non-hydro renewables (108.34 GW) has now eral Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) Office of eclipsed that of nuclear power (107.03 GW). * Energy Projects, 69 new "units" of wind accounted for "If it weren't already obvious, the latest FERC data 7,977 MW of new generating capacity -or nearly half confirm that the era of coal, oil, and nuclear power is (48.39%) of all new capacity for the year. That is a third rapidly drawing to a close," noted Ken Bossong, Execu-more than the 5,942 MW of new capacity provided by tive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. "The future 50 units of natural -in fact, the pres-gas. ent -has become Among the renewable energy!" other renewable * Note that sources, solar generating capac-placed second with ity is not the same 2,042 MW (238 as actual genera-units) followed tion. Electrical pro-by biomass with duction per MW of 305 MW (26 units), available capacity hydropower with (i.e., capacity fac-153 MW (21 units), tor) for renewables and geothermal is often lower than steam with 48 MW Source: FERC.gov. Data derived from Velocity Suite, ABB, Inc. that for fossil fuels (2 units). and nuclear power. and the C Three Groupe LLC. Includes plants with nameplate FERC reported capacity of 1 MW or greater. According to the no new capacity at most recent data all for the year from nuclear power and just 15 MW (i.e., as of November 30, 2015) provided by the U.S. from ten units of oil and only 3 MW from a single new Energy Information Administration, actual net elec-unit of coal. Thus, new capacity from renewable ener-trical generation from utility-scale renewable energy gy sources during 2015 (10,525 MW) is more than 700 sources now totals about 13.2% of total U.S. electri-times greater than that from oil and over 3,500 times cal production (see: http://www.eia.gov/electricity/ greater than that from coal. monthly); however, this figure understates renewables' Renewable energy sources now account for 17.83% actual contribution because neither EIA nor FERC fully of total installed operating generating capacity in the accounts for all electricity generated by distributed U.S.: water -8.56%, wind -6.31%, biomass -1.43%, solar renewable energy sources (e.g., uncounted U.S. roof--1.20%, and geothermal steam -0.33%. The share of top solar is equal to about 45% of utility-scale solar total installed capacity from non-hydro renewables capacity). ST (9.27%) now exceeds that from conventional hydro-power (8.56%). Copyright © 2014 American Solar Energy Society. All rights reserved. T 26 SPRING 2016 SOLAR TODAY

Good News you Can Use

Ken Bosson


Energy Infrastructure Update

Renewable sources accounted for almost two-thirds of new electrical generation placed in service in the U.S. during calendar year 2015, and 17.83% of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released its most recent 7-page “Energy Infrastructure Update,” with data through December 31, 2015, on February 2, 2016.

Setting a new annual record, renewable sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) accounted for almost two-thirds (63.85%) of the 16,485 megawatts (MW) of new electrical generation placed in service in the United States during calendar year 2015.

According to the just-released latest monthly "Energy Infrastructure Update" report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) Office of Energy Projects, 69 new "units" of wind accounted for 7,977 MW of new generating capacity - or nearly half (48.39%) of all new capacity for the year. That is a third more than the 5,942 MW of new capacity provided by 50 units of natural gas.

Among the other renewable sources, solar placed second with 2,042 MW (238 units) followed by biomass with 305 MW (26 units), hydropower with 153 MW (21 units), and geothermal steam with 48 MW (2 units).

FERC reported no new capacity at all for the year from nuclear power and just 15 MW from ten units of oil and only 3 MW from a single new unit of coal. Thus, new capacity from renewable energy sources during 2015 (10,525 MW) is more than 700 times greater than that from oil and over 3,500 times greater than that from coal.

Renewable energy sources now account for 17.83% of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S.: water - 8.56%, wind - 6.31%, biomass - 1.43%, solar - 1.20%, and geothermal steam - 0.33%. The share of total installed capacity from non-hydro renewables (9.27%) now exceeds that from conventional hydropower (8.56%).

For perspective, when FERC issued its very first "Energy Infrastructure Update" in December 2010, renewable sources accounted for only 13.71% of total installed operating generation capacity. Over the past five years, solar's share has increased 12-fold (1.20% vs. 0.10%) while that from wind has nearly doubled (6.31% vs. 3.40%). During the same period, coal's share of the nation's generating capacity plummeted from 30.37% to 26.16%.

Finally, for the first time, installed electrical capacity from non-hydro renewables (108.34 GW) has now eclipsed that of nuclear power (107.03 GW). *

"If it weren't already obvious, the latest FERC data confirm that the era of coal, oil, and nuclear power is rapidly drawing to a close," noted Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. "The future - in fact, the present - has become renewable energy!"

Note that generating capacity is not the same as actual generation. Electrical production per MW of available capacity (i.e., capacity factor) for renewables is often lower than that for fossil fuels and nuclear power. According to the most recent data (i.e., as of November 30, 2015) provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, actual net electrical generation from utility-scale renewable energy sources now totals about 13.2% of total U.S. electrical production (see: http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly); however, this figure understates renewables' actual contribution because neither EIA nor FERC fully accounts for all electricity generated by distributed renewable energy sources (e.g., uncounted U.S. rooftop solar is equal to about 45% of utility-scale solar capacity).

Ken Bosson (sun-day-campaign@hotmail.com) is Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign, a non-profit research and information organization working on renewable energy and energy efficiency issues. He is a consultant to American Councils and IREX on the selection and placement of scholars from the United States, the former Soviet Union, and Africa working on environmental and other policy issues.

Read the full article at http://www.omagdigital.com/article/Good+News+you+Can+Use/2475734/301010/article.html.

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