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Published on June 24th, 2014 | by Roy L Hales


Solar, Wind, Natural Gas Dominate New US Power Installations

June 24th, 2014 by  

Editor’s Note: remember that these numbers are for utility-scale power plants, so they don’t include rooftop solar power additions.

Originally published on the ECOreport.

LNG tanker – courtesy US Coast Guard

LNG tanker. Courtesy US Coast Guard

The energy infrastructure figures for May are out, and renewables accounted for around 88% of all new installations, but that figure is deceptive. The fastest growing sector is still natural gas, which accounted for 46% of all new installations this year. Solar (29%) and wind (22%) followed. US installations are primarily solar, wind or natural gas.

Conventional industries like coal, nuclear, and oil have all flatlined, in terms of new installations.

US Installations by MW, using Ferc data - Roy L Hales

US Installations by MW, using Ferc data. Credit: Roy L Hales

Coal is no longer “king” of America’s energy capacity either. That title passed to natural gas, which now accounts for 42% of the total. Coal should sink to the status of America’s #2 energy source, followed by nuclear energy.

If the renewable sector is calculated as a group, their combined capacity is 16.28% and easily passes that of nuclear energy. More than half of that is hydropower. The next large segment is wind energy (5.26%).

US Energy Sources, Using FERC data - Roy L Hales

US Energy Sources, Using FERC data. Credit: Roy L Hales

A number of renewable energy plants came online in May:

  • Imperial Valley Solar 1 LLC’s 99 MW Imperial Valley solar project in Imperial County, CA is online. The power generated is sold to San Diego Gas & Electric under long-term contract.
  • Macho Springs LLC’s 48.5 MW Macho Springs Energy solar project in Luna County, NM is online. The power generated is sold to El Paso Electric Company under long-term contract.
  • Western Massachusetts Electric Co’s 4 MW Indian Orchard Solar Facility project in Hampden County, MA is online.
  • City of Lemoore’s 3 MW City of Lemoore solar project in Kings County, CA is online. Kearsarge Barre 1 LLC’s 2 MW Kearsarge Barre 1 solar project in Worcester County, MA is online.
  • Prairie Breeze Wind Energy LLC’s 201 MW Prairie Breeze Wind Energy Farm in Antelope, Boone, and Madison Counties, NE is online. The power generated is sold to Omaha Public Power District under long-term contract.
  • Huerfano River Wind LLC’s 2 MW Huerfano River Wind Phase 2 expansion project in Huerfano County, CO is online. The power generated is sold to San Isabel Electric Association Inc. under long-term contract.
  • Green Power Electric Membership Corp’s 4.8 MW Pecan Row Landfill Energy project in Lowndes County, GA is online. The power generated will serve Green Power’s membership.

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About the Author

is the President of Cortes Community Radio , CKTZ 89.5 FM, where he has hosted a half hour program since 2014, and editor of the Cortes Currents (formerly the ECOreport), a website dedicated to exploring how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of British Columbia. He writes for both writes for both Clean Technica and PlanetSave on Important Media. He is a research junkie who has written over 2,000 articles since he was first published in 1982. Roy lives on Cortes Island, BC, Canada.

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