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Wind Power Dominates New Generating Capacity in US

November 25, 2014 By Karen Henry

american wind Energy ManageWind power provided over two-thirds of new US electrical generating capacity in October 2014, according to the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Office of Energy Projects. Specifically, five wind farms in Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska and Texas came on line last month, accounting for 574 MW of new capacity.

In addition, seven “units” of biomass totalling 102 MW and five units of solar totalling 31 MW came into service, accounting for 12.16 percent and 3.69 percent of new capacity, respectively. The balance came from three units of natural gas totalling 132 MW.

This is the eighth time in the past 10 months that renewable energy sources accounted for the majority of new US electrical generation. Natural gas took the lead in the other two months.

Renewables accounted for 44.47 percent of the 9,903 MW of new generating capacity from all sources installed since January 1:

  • Wind: 22.1 percent
  • Solar: 18.19 percent
  • Biomass: 2.43 percent
  • Hydropower: 1.42
  • Geothermal: .32 percent.

The balance came from natural gas (5,373 MW or 54.26 percent), nuclear (71 MW or 0.72 percent),  oil (47 MW or 0.47 percent), and “other” (7 MW or 0.07 percent). No new coal capacity has been added so far in 2014.

New capacity from renewable sources in 2014 is more than 37 times that from oil, coal and nuclear combined. Renewable energy sources now account for 16.39 percent of total installed operating generating capacity in the United States.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA)’s latest “Electric Power Monthly” report, with data through June 30, 2014, renewable energy sources provided 14.3 percent of net US electrical generation.

Photo via Shutterstock.

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