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04/11/2013 03:54 PM     print story email story  

82% of New US Electrical Capacity is Renewable Energy News

During the first quarter of 2013, renewable energy accounted for 82% of new electrical generating capacity in the US, and 100% in March. 

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) says that 1546 megawatts (MW) of renewables came online, along with 340 MW of natural gas. No new coal, oil or nuclear capacity has been added this year so far. 

Six wind farms came online totaling 958 MW, 38 solar farms at 537 MM and 28 biomass plants added 46 MW. Four small hydro plants added 5.4 MW.

The solar added is more than double that of the first quarter last year.

Wind Biofuels

Including hydro, renewable energy now accounts for almost 16% of US electrical generating capacity: hydro - 8.53%; wind - 5.18%; biomass - 1.30%;  solar - 0.44%; and geothermal - 0.32%. This is more than nuclear (9.15%) and oil (3.54%) combined. 

Note that generating "capacity" isn't the same as actual generation. In terms of net electrical generation, renewables supply a bit more than 13%, according to the US Energy Information Administration. 

In 2012, renewables accounted for almost half of all new electrical generating capacity - 46.22%.

"These additions understate actual solar capacity gains. Unlike other energy sources, significant levels of solar capacity exist in smaller, non-utility-scale applications - e.g., rooftop solar photovoltaics," says EIA. 



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