Published on October 24th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan6
Wind & Solar Power = 100% of New U.S. Electricity Capacity in September 2012
Reposted in full from our friends over at Climate Progress, here’s some pretty exciting news that I think will get our readers to perk up in their chairs this morning. And I’ll just add one thing here: while everyone seems to focus on the natural gas boom (especially in mainstream energy & political media), notice below that more wind and solar power capacity have been added to the grid in 2012 than natural gas capacity. In other words, natural gas is certainly booming these days due to its (unsustainably) low price, but renewable energy is booming to an even greater degree! (Note that, in the US, the median LCOE of wind power is now equal to the median LCOE of combined cycle natural gas power.) Anyway, on to the data….
September was tied for the hottest of any September on record globally. It was also a very hot month for renewable energy in the U.S. According to figures from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, wind and solar accounted for all new electricity capacity added to America’s grid in September.
The projects consisted of five wind farms totaling 300 megawatts and 18 solar installations totaling 133 megawatts:
Renewable energy analyst Kenneth Bossong initially reported on the figures.
“The remarkable expansion of renewable energy’s contribution to the nation’s electrical supply reflects continuing declines in costs, the impact of state renewable electricity standards, and the mix of tax and other incentives provided by the federal government,” said Bossong in an emailed statement.
As the chart above shows, the U.S. has seen 4,055 MW of wind, 936 MW of solar, 340 MW of biomass, 123 MW of geothermal, 9 MW of hydro, and 3 MW of waste heat projects come online since January. This represents a 29 percent increase over the same period in 2011.