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Published on September 16th, 2018 | by Zachary Shahan


Renewables = 43% of New Power Capacity in USA in 1st Half of 2018

September 16th, 2018 by  

Once upon a time, I published monthly reports on US renewable energy capacity additions and US electricity generation from renewables (compared to other sources). Caught up with so much other work and happy with the monthly updates some others were providing, I decided to hang up my hat on those topics. However, when I published that I would stop reporting (mostly estimating) monthly electric car sales in the US, I was encouraged to start doing renewable energy reports (again). More recently, someone asked me for some help finding the data underlying renewable energy’s 49% of new US power capacity in 2017. I realized the underlying data are still buried in hard-to-find places that get almost no exposure to sunlight.

So, here we are. I’m restarting regular US renewable energy reports here on CleanTechnica. However, this time around, I’m making them quarterly reports instead of monthly reports. Quarterly reports are better at capturing the trends, and some other organizations do contribute monthly updates.

In the 2nd quarter of 2018, renewable energy accounted for 21% of new power capacity in the country, which is unfortunately down from 30% in the same quarter of 2017. The market share was down due to an increase in the natural gas boom and a decrease in the renewables boom. (Solar + wind, which now dominate new capacity additions among renewables, accounted for 20% of additions in Q2 2018, compared to 29% in Q2 2017.)

In the first half of 2018, those figures were better, but still not as good as they were in 2017. Renewables accounted for 43% of new power capacity in the country, down from 46% in the first half of 2017. (Solar + wind accounted for 42% of new power capacity in the country, down from 44% in the first half of 2017.)

This is unfortunate, since when I stopped doing these reports, renewables had risen to over 50% of new capacity additions.

Nonetheless, because of changes across the power capacity base, the result is that renewables have risen to 21.6% of US power capacity versus 20.5% at this point in 2017. (Solar + wind rose to 11.4%, versus 10.2% at this point in 2017.) In particular, aside from the natural gas and renewable energy additions noted above, the most notable change in the industry is the decline of coal power, which is simply not competitive any longer.

For a more tedious dive into this industry, check out the tables below. Also, stay tuned for the coming US electricity generation report.

Source data come from the US DOE/EIA and FERC, with a little bit of estimation by CleanTechnica to reconcile “other solar.” 


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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in NIO [NIO], Tesla [TSLA], and Xpeng [XPEV]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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