Renewable energies dominate new US generation capacity – pv magazine USA


Data from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission through September showed that solar power now accounts for more than 5% of total grid capacity and is on track to surpass nuclear power within three years.

Renewable energy sources, including solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower and biomass, dominated new power generation capacity additions in the first two-thirds of 2021, accounting for a share of 86, 5%, reports the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

A total of 13,868 MW of the 16,039 MW added to the grid were renewable energy, the majority of which was solar and wind power. Wind was in the lead with 7,244 MW, and solar was just behind with 6,585 MW added. The remainder of the added non-renewable energy was primarily natural gas, with 2,155 MW brought into service.

Renewable energies now provide more than a quarter (25.22%) of all available installed generation capacity in the United States. Five years ago it was 18.39%, and ten years ago renewables accounted for 14.09%.

Solar power has exceeded 5% of the country’s generating capacity, a figure that does not include distributed (rooftop) solar power. Further solar growth is expected, with “high probability” additions through 2024 expected to reach 44,052 MW, FERC said.

The forecast for the next three years for net renewable capacity additions is 66,581 MW. This is almost identical to the actual net renewable energy additions over the past three years (65,820 MW). If these forecasts are confirmed, renewable energies will reach almost 30% of the total installed capacity.

Additionally, solar power is expected to overtake nuclear power over the same three-year period, FERC said. New utility-scale solar additions over the next three years will be more than 20 times that of nuclear. The only major nuclear activations planned are the two Vogtle reactors in Georgia, with a capacity of some 2,200 MW in development since 2013.

“FERC data confirms that wind and solar dominate new capacity additions in 2021 and will likely continue to do so in the future,” said Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY campaign.

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