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A good start to the new year: renewables account for 100% of new electric capacity in US

The US has done it again.

Last month, 100% of new electric generating capacity in the US was renewable, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The bulk of that – 77.8% – comes from newly installed solar capacity, with an additional 21.7% from wind and 0.5% from biomass. Compare these numbers with those from the same month a year prior, when renewable energy sources accounted for just 24.5% of newly installed capacity.

This isn’t the first month the US has achieved all-renewable additions: In September 2012, solar and wind sources accounted for all electric generating capacity added that month. The difference is in scale: a total of 1,231 MW were installed in January 2013, nearly three times the 433 MW in September 2012.

However, the proportion of non-hydro renewable sources of total installed operating generating capacity in the US is just 7.3%, while coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear make up 64%.

The investments made today will determine the energy system that is in place in 2050. The lack of progress in renewable energy today is alarming, given that the window of opportunity to arrest climate change and other energy-rooted crises is closing rapidly. In order to achieve 100% renewable energy in the near future, new investments must already be 100% renewable energy based today.