Using data from FERC and rooftop solar power estimates of my own*, it seems that 69% of newly installed US electricity generation capacity was from renewable energy power plants, with 67% from solar and wind power. At the end of the day (at the end of the year), renewables still only accounted for 19% of total US electricity generation capacity, and solar + wind 8.7%. Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter. Zachary Shahan is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) one letter at a time. It would be interesting to see these various electric power sourced also compared on basis of net new capacity added, to get a better idea of their relative growth rates. Right now adding natural gas to the grid allows us to shut down coal plants and cut CO2 by 50%.
A while back a Budischak and others modeled a wind, solar and storage solution for the largest wholesale grid in the US using four years of wind, solar and demand data. I like it how Jan 2000 is in that graph twice and that Jan 2001 and 2002 comes after July 2001 and 2002 respectively. It would be nice to see a split of the NG capacity between the big, expensive,and efficient combined-cycle baseload plants, and the smaller, cheaper, but less efficient simple peaker plants. In Europe most countries have natural gas infrastructure and Greenpeace campaign for Synfuels Methane to replace fossil Methane. Biogas has been supported for decades and is getting cheaper though still far from commercial gas grid parity. If the cost trajectories for renewables continue it is just a matter of time before it will go head against fossil Methane first and later on against crude oil for liquid fuels and base materials for producing polymers. When you factor in the fracking, where unknown toxic chemicals are pumped underground, that could poison our water, and the emissions released at the drill site, and pollution produced, natural gas really isn’t cleaner than coal.
If spot prices jump temporarily, though, CCNG plants can turn on just like peakers to provide (almost) instant power (just not at their full nameplate capacity – since peakers are only rating the turbines where CC is rating the whole generation amount). I think batteries are going to out compete the peaker plants for the 20 minutes it takes to spin up a combined cycle plant, so I would ratyer have them, because they sre more efficient.
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Expand your insights into the core issues at the heart of wind O&M for the coming years. Network and establish your business in one of North America’s largest energy industries. For the month of June, the story is that 44% of new capacity came from wind power, 41.5% came from solar power, 13% came from biomass, and 2% came from natural gas. Of course, the story gets a lot worse when you look at total electricity generation capacity. Just imagine how great Renewable energy look be in 10+ years when NEW nuclear is still having construction delays and billion dollar cost increases. If we adjust by capacity factors to see the likely generation output the Natural gas portion rises to nearly 40% which still leaves 60% renewables. I do like having this exclusive here ?? But will see if anyone at SEIA is willing to lean on the EIA about this. Not sure if this is the case, but at least in Europe actual amount of electricity generated by wind has fluctuated quite significantly over the years (I think due to change in mediterranean, that is, mostly Spain). Considering we have Obama as president who is supposedly an advocate for scalable renewable energy, and considering wind is cheaper than natural gas or atleast very competitive, I was hoping for much much better results. What do you think PBO could have done that he didn’t to spur higher renewable installation? Now, if that’s your definition of still being on the fence, well, words have different meanings for us. Created a program to develop renewable energy projects on the waters of our Outer Continental Shelf that will produce electricity from wind, wave, and ocean currents.
Reengaged in the climate change and greenhouse gas emissions agreements talks, and proposed one himself. Fully supported the initial phase of the creation of a legally-binding treaty to reduce mercury emissions worldwide.
Under Obama, our dependence on foreign oil has dropped to its lowest rate since 1985, and continues to drop.
Improved siting, review and permitting stations for power plants, in an attempt to seriously improve the nation’s electric grid. Following the neglect of Bush’s eight year reign, he reengaged in a number of treaties and agreements designed to protect the Antarctic.
Created tax write-offs for purchases of hybrid automobiles, and later he and Democrats morphed that program into one that includes electric cars.
Established a quadrennial review of our energy infrastructure, to encourage a modernization of the grid, and to encourage the transition away from fossil fuel use. Mandated that federal government fleet purchases be for fuel-efficient American vehicles, and encouraged that federal agencies support experimental, fuel-efficient vehicles. Got BP to cough up $20 billion to establish Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, to reduce the need for taxpayer funds to be used for compensation and clean up. Oversaw and pushed through an amendment to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 authorizing advances from Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Actively tried to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to eliminate the liability limits for those companies responsible for large oil spills. Became the first President to simply say “Climate Change is a fact,” and set up the first federal government protocols for dealing with the impacts of climate change.
Strengthened protection for wildlife, and expanded enforcement of laws against wildlife trafficking. Obama EPA improved boiler safety standards to improve air quality, and save 6500 lives per year. Through the EPA, attemped to take steps to severely limit the use of antibiotics in livestock feed, to increase their efficacy in humans. Through new EPA regulations, he created a pretext for closing the dirtiest power plants in the country, by limiting emissions of mercury and other toxic gasses.
Issued an Executive Order to facilitate investments in industrial energy efficiency that will help create jobs, while strengthening US manufacturing. Through an executive order, set up the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, which will to oversee Gulf Coast restoration efforts in the wake of the 2010 BP oil splll.
Through executive actions and bypassing the ineffectual Republican Congress, announced the most comprehensive plan to combat climate change in a generation. Ordered energy plants to prepare to produce at least 15% of all energy through renewable resources like wind and solar, by 2021. Oversaw the creation of an initiative that converts old factories and manufacturing centers into new clean technology centers.
Bypassed Republican opposition in Congress and ordered EPA to begin regulating and measuring carbon emissions. Ordered the federal government to incorporate climate resilience and climate science into all international development in which the United States engages. Fast-tracked regulations to allow states to enact fuel efficiency standards that exceeded federal standards. Fast-tracked increased fuel economy standards for vehicles beginning with the 2011 model year.
Oversaw establishment of an Energy Partnership for the Americas, to create more markets for American-made biofuels and green energy technologies.
Obama EPA reversed a Bush-era decision to allow the largest mountaintop removal project in US history. Ordered the Department of Energy to implement more aggressive efficiency standards for common household appliances. Signed an Executive Order to improve environmental efforts in the Arctic region and to combat climate change by better coordinating the efforts of the 23 federal agencies operating in the area. Expanded clean water regulations to more stringently protect all of the nation’s waterways, even when states fail in their duty.
Signed an Executive Order committing the federal government to lead the way in building a sustainable economy. Just imagine what we could have done if both Party’s worked together instead of dragging their feet and opposing each others legislation. Bob_Wallace – The lucky people will be the ones where the transition to Solar happens first, while those now living in the RED Pro-Nuclear States will suffer the longest as their powerful Utilities squeeze their ratepayers for as long as possible.
Look for Companies of all sizes, to begin to relocate as the cost of Energy becomes a line item they can no longer ignore, if they want to stay competitive in todays Global market.
If Southern Company can get the state to force up rates high enough to cover the plants then there will be a lot more end-user solar as the parity point rises.

Since Sunshines is FREE, expect ever more ratepayers to start questioning the ever increasing amounts that Big Utilities are charging! Most ratepayers will still retain their GRID connection so there is a role for Big Utilities to play in the future, all that remains for them in the long run is how much they can make ratepayers pay for that connection. His moves on Iran and Cuba were very forward-thinking, I’ll give him credit for that.
It is true, of course, that his actions have not been up to level of rhetorics, but that is your US politics — politicians MUST promise much more than they could ever dream of delivering. Lately, most of the attention in the clean energy sector has been directed at solar, and for good reason. The importance of hydropower as a source of electricity generation varies by geographic region.
Conventional hydroelectric generators were among the oldest of the Nation's power plants operating in 2010. There are several other types of non-conventional hydroelectric generators including pumped-storage, hydrokinetic axial flow and wave buoy turbines. Depending on the season and precipitation, the hydroelectric share of total generation varies from 4% to 10%. Most hydroelectric generators in the United States were co-located at dams originally built for other purposes, like flood control, municipal water supply, and irrigation. Russia holds the world's largest natural gas reserves, the second largest coal reserves, and the eighth largest crude oil reserves. With high economic growth rates and over 15 percent of the world’s population, India is a significant consumer of energy resources. Amazon Oil climbed above $100 a barrel in New York to a five-month high as Enbridge Inc. Building off of a strong January and February, new electricity generation capacity added in the USA in March brought the 1st quarter split to 84% for all renewables, 81% for solar + wind. I realize that money spent on those plants is away from more sustainable use, but it may still help a bit on short term.
As the article and others in the comments have suggested, renewable energy capacity has a long way to go before displacing significant fossil fuel-powered capacities. I’m interested in hearing what others think are the likeliest paths that renewable energy might take to achieve such an objective. While there is little doubt that wind and solar will continue growing fast, they’ve been doing that for a while now and have only put a small dent in the total capacity. Nothing other than continued building is needed to allow all coal and most natural gas to be eliminated. And yes, solar can be anywhere between 10 and 30%, wind from 20-45% (sometimes even higher, but I think usually estimated more like 30-35% for new onshore). And then for NatGas, there is difference between theoretical utilization (high, above 90%?), and actual peak-load support usage (which may be very low). The latest EIA data give a mean capacity factor of combined-cycle gas turbines of 47.8% in 2014 (link). Nuclear tends to run at maximum because it is so difficult (time consuming) to cycle reactors on and off.
Additionally wind farms are now being designed to produce more hours of the day rather than for maximum output during the windiest hours. Kind of a ramble, but the bottom line is that we probably pay less attention to performance CF numbers.
Again, though, the fact that CF issues are complex just highlights the fact that talking about electricity generated is clearer.
Wind farms should always work for more production unless there is a way to design for higher demand hours when wholesale prices are higher. On the contrary, by more fully taking advantage of peak wind you have higher nameplate capacity, therefore reach 100% output less seldom and get a lower CF as a result.
I think the issue is whether to design for maximum output at lower wind speeds or design for maximum output at higher wind speeds. The people who rave on about thorium and molten salt reactors need to ask themselves why there aren’t any. If either design meant the ability to produce electricity at an affordable price don’t you think the companies and countries that are building reactors would have moved to these supposedly superior designs?
My assumption is that there is not a significant advantage, so builders are not going there.
Tesla is planning to prohibit its new power storage system from being sold to homeowners that have rooftop solar.
Of course Tesla will not prohibit their new battery packs from being used for their intended purpose. You realize that just manufacturing a Tesla emits as much GHGs as a Chevy Cruze driven 140,000 miles when all source GHGs are accounted for? By the way, Tesla’s new battery is a huge success, with a very long line of back orders. Now that homes can go completely off grid, and charge their electric cars for FREE, this will be the beginning of the end for the fossil fuel industries.
Is it weird that “other solar” has been exactly 230 MW in each of the first three months of this year? Since they are estimates, is there any way you could publish a confidence interval alongside them? I try to time my usage (of dishwasher, regular washer) for night-time, but it does not seem to be what many people around here do. Biomass electricity capacity as a percentage of total electricity generating capacity in the U.S. The statistics shows the electricity capacity of biomass as a share of total electricity generating capacity in the United States between 2000 and 2011.
With Statista, you get straight to the point: analyzing data, rather than searching for it. We may all be surprised and relieved at how fast coal disappears as clean piranhas surround it. The deadline is 2025 IIRC, although much of the UK’s coal-fired capacity will be retired earlier than this, a good chunk of it, it would seem in 2016 alone. It’s not open to debate either that NG plants do still emit a lot of CO2 and will have to go in a full energy transition. Also the toxic chemicals injected into the ground, during fracking pose an unacceptable risk to our water tables. If they turn off before the steam turbines heat up, they just operate at the lower efficiency of a peaker plant.
I know this isn’t politically possible, but a price on everything going up the smokestack would be really nice, minus the nitrogen, and unburned oxygen of course. All renewables came to 78.4%, with almost all of that from solar and wind (75% of the total). For the third year in row, the United States led the world in increased wind power capacity. He did manage to get financing for things like CSP as part of the economic stimulus plan, but otherwise power of POTUS is severely limited. If they honestly said what is likely reach of their power, people would just vote for others who are better at lying and imagining things.
We're literally in the middle of an energy revolution, and I believe that solar will take over the world over the coming decades.
Operating expenses for hydroelectric generators are lower than for most other forms of electricity generation but facilities are limited by geography and operations are subject to seasonal constraints. The vast majority of hydroelectric generators were built before 1980 and recent changes to hydroelectric capacity have been small. A run-of-river plant utilizes the flow of a waterway (usually a river) to turn a turbine, while a storage plant creates a reservoir using a dam that controls water flow over a turbine. A storage plant has some control over generation by controlling spillway water flow at intake through the dam, but is still constrained by total reservoir water levels. Pumped-storage generators represent the only non-conventional form of hydroelectric generation currently in wide commercial use. Precipitation, snowpack, drought conditions, and other meteorological factors contribute to water availability for generation through hydroelectric dams.
Operations are affected by environmental considerations associated with water use, fish populations, and impact on wildlife in surrounding areas. Bureau of Reclamation, is the fifth-largest power plant operating in the world and the largest in the Nation, with a net summer capacity of 7,079 megawatts. Of course, hydro is still the largest source among all renewables, accounting for 8.5% of all US electricity generation capacity.

With declining total demand, not much new gas capacity will be needed in the US, and installations are already tailing off. Also wondering how those paths compare in terms of the challenges they face, average project size and scope, impact, etc. This will happen regardless of special federal or state incentives, though obviously these affect the timing. So, I’m really wonder what combination of things will allow renewables to deeply penetrate existing electricity infrastructure. I think everyone here agrees that peak capacity is misleading, but that is what most news sources report, perhaps for simplicity. And then hydropower that is limited both by amount of water available (depending on location) and load-balancing needs.
Aku Ankka’s numbers (30-35%) are more realistic for wind generation coming online in the US in the near future.
They could be built with higher nameplate capacity so they would produce more electricity but run at lower CF.
A wind farm that more fully takes advantage of peak power needs, without reaching a higher CF. I’m just following through with the only rationalization that makes his statement remotely plausible.
The fuel is much more plentiful, they are less dangerous than conventional nuclear reactors and it’s easier to dispose of the waste. A $100,000 Tesla is a beautiful car I admit but it isn’t any better for the planet that any other car at the moment. I was under impression that variable rates are actually getting more rare, partly because many consumers find it confusing (seriously… ).
Here in US northwest I think we either have fully flat 10c rate, or at most nominal change for nighttime + weekends. It is not safe for our water supply, because these unknown toxic chemicals could remain in the ground for centuries before they poison our water.
Given the explosive growth of solar and wind and their improving economics (complemented by cheaper natural gas generation) it would be surprising if coal doesn’t wither faster in the US and also in China and India. The difference arises in that the CCNG plants use the waste heat from the turbines to boil water (Sometimes with the help of more NG to make it supercritical and increase efficiency, but not necessarily). Still, it was nice to see that more coal capacity was retired in June and some oil capacity was also retired.
I’m not into giving away money to the fossil fuel and nuclear industries like he did. But wind power keep chugging along, with prices falling over time - though not as dramatically as solar - and installed capacity going up.
There is a large concentration of capacity in the Pacific Northwest, contributing to low wholesale and retail electricity prices in that region, especially in the spring runoff season. These systems pump water to high elevations during low load periods then run the same water through the turbines to produce electricity during high demand times. For example, early snow melt runoff in the Pacific Northwest, elevated snowpack levels throughout much of the Western river basins, and significant rainfall in March in areas of high hydropower capacity resulted in a large increase in hydroelectric generation in 2011.
For example, fish ladders and lifts have been constructed at many dams to help protect migrating populations. And partly because these plants are much more flexible and can help match production curve with consumption, so that they could help with higher rates of variable RE production.
The sunsetting of the wind PTC and solar ITC will cause a nasty blip if not reversed or phased. The vast majority will be onshore and some may well be in suboptimal locations because even states that don’t have the best sites will want their own generation. That would cost a bit more and the power would arrive when the wind peak drops prices, so it’s understandably not being done right now. Could have some insanely high cut out speeds, at the sake of high very high start up speeds giving a really strange power curve because prevailing winds are insanely high.
Unless someone writes a 20 billion dollar check tonight for wind farm based storage and installs it retroactively tomorrow morning. Since MIT-Sloan research has shown that the vast majority of a vehicles energy costs are from propulsion and not manufacture, can’t be good at all, in terms of planet goodness.
I was trying to find more information, but most links were for earlier experiments, where differences were also rather modest.
Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, energy storage, and wind energy expert. Clean wind, solar, geothermal, wave and biogas from landfills, animal waste on farms, and sewage treatment plants, is the best alternative to allow us to quickly close all our dirty coal plants. It is much better to add only 100% wind, solar, and geothermal power to our future energy requirements. Every new turbine that goes up will keep producing clean power for decades to come at very little cost (basic maintenance, no fuel costs unlike fossil fuel power plants).
Installed solar capacity now exceeds 179GW and generates 554 terawatt-hours of capacity.Although solar generation still made up a small mix of the renewable electricity -- just 6% -- it accounted for 22% of total electricity capacity added in 2014. Because hydroelectric generation relies on precipitation, it varies widely from month to month and year to year. Other hydroelectric technologies, such as wave buoys, are being developed and demonstrated but not in wide use at this time.
How about solar integrators creating distributed networks of managed solar and energy storage sites?
If they could get a good price for the wind by selling to low overhead storage or demand shifting, it would be economical.
But if the wind regime was based on wind speeds that high, wouldn’t that configuration actually work to raise the CF? This way we can shut down all dirty coal plants quickly, without, without relying on dangerous natural gas as a replacement for dirty coal.
Natural gas is still a dirty fossil fuel, and a path using 100% clean renewable energy is better, than using natural gas as a bridge fuel. Not MORE Perry Theories?A When Pete was at school, and throughout his teenage years, his friends and a few adults would raise their hands in alarm as Pete propounded a new theory. We can shut all our dirty coal plants quicker by replacing them with solar and wind, then is we use dirty natural gas. While the annual installed capacity has been bouncing around a bit, the cumulative numbers (in red) show a pretty smooth ride upward. So, in reality, solar and also wind need multiples more capacity to generate the same as many non-renewables.
Also we can get renewable biogas from our landfills, sewage plants, and animal waste from farms, to generate electricity, and power big rig trucks, instead of dirty diesel. We can get renewable, carban neutral biogas from animal waste, sewage plants, and landfills, to use to replace dirty diesel for trucks, but natural gas fracking is unacceptable. Not just in The UK, but all over the World.Normally placid creatures such as foxes and squirrels have started attacking humans. Capturing Methane that normally would harm our atmosphere, and contribute to Global Warming, is much better than natural gas fracking, where toxic chemicals are pumped underground threatening our water.
They make us obese, sluggish, and many additives are increasingly making us angry and confrontational.We are also the untidiest creatures on the planet, throwing away discarded rubbish and food. Animals and birds are opportunists, particularly in urban areas, where Mankind has deprived them of their natural food by paving over grasslands, cutting down trees for buildings and roads, and driving out the predators natural prey such as rabbits and 'game birds'.A i»?Well then, it must also apply to BIRDS AND ANIMALS!
You can see that in recent years both wind and solar are starting to be a much larger portion of the total. Arranged installation of separate solar digital record meter as well as arrange a new digital electric consumption meter. Solar, Wind etca€¦a€¦how they manage that is a conundrum but they do invest their profits into more 'green energy' sources.My system is 10 Panels facing slightly South East and generates income of approx A?900 per year but at the earliest rate. The rates for later installations were reduced by this "Greenest Government ever !!"By my calculations as well as generating solar electricity it will take me approx 8 to 9 years to recover the costs of materials and installation after that its free income BUT my applying for Solar is not primarily for profit but to show that clean Solar energy is possible and an inducement to othersa€¦..sadly most would rather spend their money on a Gas guzzling A?30 grand motor !! Anyway back to the plot, I'm very pleased with my system, I've made a very good friend in Colin who is always ready to give advicea€¦.he even does the Band PAT Test for me ! But no probs now.I am looking at another piece of technology Colin has recommended and that is a way of diverting excess solar generated electricity to heating my domestic hot water.
It is simply a way of life to them.Not only are many houses fitted with green roofs, but so are sheds and even bus shelters!

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