FERC: 116 GW of Solar and Wind Generation Additions by 2020

FERC solar wind utility-scale capacity 2020
Credit: Karsten Würth

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s most recent Energy Infrastructure Update shows that proposed utility-scale solar and wind generation additions are expected to equal nearly 116 GW of capacity by 2020, taking into account expected retirements.

FERC’s update, which includes data through the end of last November, indicates that the combined utility-scale solar and wind power capacity would essentially double. Current available installed generating capacity is 86.76 GW for wind and 28.76 GW for solar, according to the Office of Energy Projects Energy Infrastructure Update for November 2017.

By 2020, proposed additions equal nearly 72.53 MW for wind and about 43.53 MW for solar. FERC says it used data from Velocity Suite, ABB Inc. and The C Three Group LLC, which include plants with nameplate capacity of 1 MW or greater. Retirements are only expected to be 68 MW for wind and 2 MW for solar in the next three years.

The proposed net additions were spotted by Ken Bossong, executive director of the Sun Day Campaign, a nonprofit research and educational organization he started in 1992 that aggressively promotes sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels. In October, he highlighted EIA data demonstrating strong growth in renewables.

“Steadfast and serious, Ken Bossong calmly steeps himself in the startling statistics put out by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA),” Ralph Nader wrote in a 2016 profile of the solar advocate published on the Huffington Post.

Rather than a prediction or forecast, Bossong says in a news item for Solar Power World that the FERC data confirms recent trends such as rapid growth in solar, wind, and natural gas.

“Should the proposed generation additions and retirements prove accurate, within three years, the mix of renewables would account for more than a quarter of the nation’s installed generating capacity — up from one-fifth today,” he wrote. “Solar and wind combined would equal nearly 17% of capacity by December 2020.”

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