Despite the uncertainties of the last presidential election season, renewable energy industries enjoyed a great 2012. For those who believe that renewable sources of energy should play a major role in our nation’s energy mix, 2012 was a banner year, with nearly half of all new electricity generating capacity in the United States coming from renewables.
Looking back, 2012 could be viewed as a turning point in the impact of renewable energy on the total energy needs for the United States.
geoAMPS, a technology company located in the Columbus, Ohio, area, is committed to working with renewable energy industries to assist in the development of additional capacity by providing products and services that increase project and organizational efficiency and, ultimately, reduce costs.
geoAMPS has developed an industry-leading comprehensive solution for end-to-end management of renewable energy projects in a paperless environment. Its software product called altAMPS assists companies through the development, construction and ongoing operational stages of alternative energy projects.
The process and organizational efficiencies, error elimination and measured cost savings possible by utilizing altAMPS provide opportunities for completion of additional projects. That translates into more capacity in total U.S. electricity generation from renewables. altAMPS increases the nation’s commitment to renewable energy and decreases dependence on fossil fuels and foreign sources of energy.
altAMPS offers time-saving tools, such as lease management, meteorological tower management, royalty payment calculator, bulk update, automatic reminders, payment tracker and scheduler, workflow and import-export capabilities, all of which make this powerful software invaluable for companies involved in renewable energy.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects reports that renewable sources of energy – wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydropower – accounted for 49.1 percent of all new domestic electric generating capacity installed during 2012. The total new capacity from renewables was 12,956 megawatts (MW). More than one quarter of that capacity – 3,276 MW – came online during December 2012.
Most of that new capacity came from wind power. In fact, wind took the lead in new electric capacity among all sources of energy, setting a new record by installing 44 percent of all new power generation capacity in the U.S. That level of new power generation exceeded the 30 percent added by natural gas, which is especially remarkable considering the unprecedented low prices for natural gas. Total new power generation from wind in 2012 was 10,689 MW.
Wind accounted for 6 percent of total electricity generation in the United States during 2012.
But we should not ignore the impact of other sources of renewable energy. Solar added 1,476 MW, biomass 543 MW, geothermal steam 149 MW and geothermal water 99 MW.
By comparison, new natural gas generation totaled 8,746 MW (33.15 percent), coal 4,510 MW (17.09 percent), nuclear 125 MW (0.47 percent) and oil 49 MW (0.19 percent).
New capacity from renewable energy sources increased by 51.16 percent, compared to 8,571 MW added in 2011. In 2011, renewables accounted for 39.33 percent of all new electric generation.
As new projects are constructed and go online, the percentage of overall power generation through renewables is grows. Renewable sources now account for 15.40 percent of total U.S. operating capacity. That breaks down to 8.47 percent water, 4.97 percent wind, 1.3 percent biomass, 0.34 percent solar, and 0.32 percent geothermal. This total exceeds nuclear at 9.24 percent and oil at 3.57 percent. Generating capacity is not the same as actual generation. Net electrical generation from renewable sources now totals 13 percent.
President Barack Obama has been a strong supporter of renewable sources of energy. That support shows no sign of waning. The Production Tax Credit has been extended. And, the president devoted a substantial portion of his inaugural address to reaffirm his commitment to combating climate change and investing in what he called “sustainable” sources of energy.
There is an increasing commitment to renewable energy worldwide. Canada continues a strong push toward adding electric generation through renewables. Several large hydroelectricity projects have recently started or were completed last year.
Dan Liggett is Communications and Public Relations Manager for geoAMPS, a technology company located in the Columbus, Ohio, area that provides software solutions to manage land rights and infrastructure assets. For information call 614-389-4871 or visit www.geoamps.com.
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