Latest report shows rise in renewable energy use in 2013

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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has released its latest report on the U.S. Energy Infrastructure Update. According to the report, 82% of all new electrical generating capacity in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2013 came from renewable energy sources. This totals to 1,546MW of generated electricity, with a balance of 340MW coming from natural gas. The sources cited in the report included biomass, geothermal, solar, water, and wind.

This growth represents a nearly three-fold increase in generating capacity from renewable sources for the same period in 2012 when wind, solar, and biomass generated only 431MW of additional generating capacity.


The numbers

Wind energy led the way in growth for the first quarter of 2013, making up around 60% or 958MW of additional generating capacity from six new “units” for the first two months of this year. By the end of February, a total of 60.1GW of installed wind energy capacity is now being generated in the U.S., representing approximately 5.18% of the country’s total installed generating capacity.

Solar comes in second, augmented by a boost in production of solar panels, with 24 new units generating 424MW of additional installed capacity followed by natural gas with 2 new units generating 170MW of installed capacity.

Biomass comes in last with 25 new units generating 32MW of additional installed capacity.

There was no new generating capacity recorded for fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, and oil as well as nuclear power and geothermal steam sources.

Renewable energy sources now account for 15.66% of generating capacity of all installations in the U.S., broken down as follows:

  • Water – 8.50%
  • Wind – 5.17%
  • Biomass – 1.29%
  • Solar – 0.38%
  • Geothermal – 0.32%

By comparison, oil accounts for 3.54% of total operating generating capacity, nuclear for 9.23%, coal for 29.04%, and natural gas for 42.37%. Coal still has the biggest share of use at 29.04%.

The report also cites the most notable developments in natural gas and hydropower installations such as the construction and operation of new pipelines for the Creole Trail Pipeline in LA that will have bi-directional transportation capabilities, delivering a total of 1,530MMCf/d to the Sabine Pass Liquefaction facility.

The entire report can be downloaded in PDF form at the FERC website.

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