Nearly 50 percent of new electricity generation capacity added in 2012 was renewable
Every month, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission puts out a report called the “Energy Infrastructure Update” [PDF]. It is done in Microsoft Word by someone whose first priority isn’t aesthetics.
But it does contain interesting information! Among which, this time: From January through October, 46.2 percent of new electricity generating capacity added in the U.S. was renewable.
From Renewable Energy World:
During the first ten months of 2012, 92 wind projects (5,403 MW), 167 solar projects (1,032 MW), 79 biomass projects (409 MW), seven geothermal projects (123 MW), and 9 water power projects (12 MW) have come on-line. Collectively, these total 6,979 MW or 46.22% of all new generating capacity added since the beginning of the year.
By comparison, new natural gas capacity additions since January 1, 2012 totaled 67 projects (5,702 MW) or 37.8% while three new coal projects added 2,276 MW (15.1%). Nuclear and oil represented just 0.8% and 0.1% of new capacity additions respectively.
For the first 10 months of 2011, renewable energy constituted just under 30 percent of new generation capacity.
The story here is wind, which accounted for 77 percent of all new renewable production capacity.
Earlier this week, we noted that consumption of renewably generated power continues to increase. For that to happen, production must increase too, of course. In that sense, it’s bad news that so much of the new renewable capacity is wind, since wind is also the most at risk as Congress drags its feet on a key tax credit that allows wind to compete with fossil fuels. If it’s not renewed, the pie chart next year might look like this:
And that, Microsoft Word or not, is ugly.
[CORRECTION: This headline originally said “generation” instead of “generation capacity.” More than 46 percent of new electricity generating capacity added in the U.S. this year was renewable, not electricity generation.]
Get Grist in your inbox