Renewable energy sources accounted for 49.10 percent of all new US electrical generating capacity installed in 2012 for a total of 12,956 MW, according to the latest Energy Infrastructure Update report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects.
More than a quarter of that new capacity — 25.29 percent, or 3,276 MW — came on-line in the month of December 2012 alone.
Wind led the way in 2012 with 164 new units totaling 10,689 MW, followed by solar with 240 units totaling 1,476 MW. Biomass added 100 new units totaling 543 MW while geothermal steam and water each had 13 new units with installed capacities of 149 MW and 99 MW, respectively.
By comparison, for the full 12 months of 2012, new natural gas generation in service totaled 8,746 MW (33.15 percent) followed by coal (4,510 MW or 17.09 percent), nuclear (125 MW or 0.47 percent), and oil (49 MW or 0.19 percent).
New capacity from renewable energy sources in 2012 increased by 51.16 percent compared to 2011 when those sources added 8,571 MW. In 2011, renewables accounted for 39.33 percent of all new in-service generation capacity.
Renewable sources now account for 15.40 percent of total installed US operating generating capacity: water at 8.47 percent, wind at 4.97 percent, biomass at 1.30 percent, solar at 0.34 percent and geothermal at 0.32 percent.
This is more than nuclear (9.24 percent) and oil (3.57 percent) combined.
An earlier Energy Infrastructure Update report published in late 2012 said renewable energy sources accounted for 41.14 percent of new electrical generating capacity installed in October 2012 and 46.22 percent for the first 10 months of 2012.