Published on December 21st, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan


100% Of New Power Capacity In US Came From Renewable Energy In November (2nd Month This Year)

December 21st, 2013 by  

renewable energy november

I got news of this a couple of days ago and decided to pass on covering the story since we basically already covered it 3 weeks ago, when the news was that 99% of new power capacity added in November would come from renewables. That somehow changed to 100% once the final figures were announced, but I figured it wasn’t really worth doing another story over a change from 99% to 100%.

But the news has been blowing up across the internets, so I changed my mind and decided to quickly put this piece up.

Notably, this isn’t the first month this year in which renewables accounted for 100% of new power capacity. The same thing occurred in March. Actually, in March, solar power alone accounted for all new power capacity.

Nonetheless, this is great news, and it deserves to go viral. And it would be great if this happened every month!

Here are the full details from FERC on the split for November:

  • 0 natural gas power plants placed into service = 0 MW
  • oil power plants placed into service = 0 MW
  • 0 coal power plants placed into service = 0 MW
  • 0 nuclear power plants placed into service = 0 MW
  • 0 waste heat power plants placed into service = 0 MW
  • water power plant placed into service = 4 MW
  • 4 wind power plants placed into service = 81 MW
  • 1 geothermal steam power plant placed into service = 25 MW
  • 8 biomass power plants placed into service = 108 MW
  • 14 solar power plants placed into service = 177 MW

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Image: screenshot of FERC report

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Others

    Great News. Hope Renewable’s will do even better next year will wind doing a bit more.

    Actually Natgas is used for load balancing factor, but the renewable’s will be used for 100% capacity. But the coal fired power generation has increased a lot this year as per EIA estimates.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Natural gas prices rose sending some utilities back to using more coal.
      We’ve got 150 coal plants closing over the next couple of years. Coal burning will slow simply because we won’t have as many places to burn it.

  • mikgigs

    it could be interesting to compare with totaal installed capacity from 2012 and show how the percentage changes

  • Conrad Dunkerson

    Coal has dropped to only 29% of our power generation… having been primarily replaced by natural gas growing to 42% thanks to the fracking boom. I think that overall this is good news. A temporary surge in natural gas is killing coal much faster than renewables could have… but when the cheap natural gas starts to run low coal will be more expensive than renewables and they will thus grow to replace natural gas just as quickly as it has grown to replace coal.

    Basically, the cheapest power source wins. That used to be coal, now it is natural gas, but soon the temporary surge in natural gas supplies will end and solar/wind will be the cheapest power source available.

    • Matt

      Thus the need to remove government support for and add a price on carbon, to help the market understand some of the external costs of coal/gas/oil. And make a informed “cheapest power source” wins.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Where’s that?

      US is running about 40% coal and 25% NG.

      Wind has pretty much reached parity with new CCNG. Solar is pushing gas peakers off the table.

  • Matt

    Year to date is still 64.5% coal/oil/gas (mostly gas), Nuclear(0), renewable(35.5%). Which is better than the 84% installed base for coal/oil/gas/nuclear. But still a lot of room for improvement.

  • matthew

    Looking at the data it would appear that wind has collapsed this year. Solar is taking over a lot of the slack.

    • Bob_Wallace

      US wind got really jerked around by the subsidy legislation.

      In order to qualify for the subsidy in 2012 the project had to be on line and producing. That meant there was a great rush to get projects started and finished by Dec 31.

      The 2013 subsidy wasn’t established until late and that meant that people didn’t get started right way after the first of the year. That created a break in the action.

      Now that the subsidy legislation is a bit more sane we should see less of the start/rush to finish/wait type development.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Let me add to that.

        The way the 2013 subsidy is set up a wind farm needs to be 5% completed by the end of 2013. I expect companies got a number of projects past the 5% point and will complete them next year.

        They will have locked in the subsidy and will have plenty to do without having to wait for the 2014 subsidy program to be put in place.

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