Solar and wind take the lead in FERC first infrastructure report of 2019

According to an analysis by the SUN DAY Campaign of data just released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), new solar and wind generating capacity has taken the lead over natural gas and all other energy sources for the first month of  2019.

FERC’s “Energy Infrastructure Update” report (with data through January 31, 2019) notes that 18 “units” of new solar capacity (631 MW) and four units of new wind capacity (519 MW) each beat new natural gas capacity (one unit – 465 MW) in January. No new capacity additions were reported for any other energy sources. 

FERC’s data also reveal that renewables (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) now account for 21.23 percent of total available installed U.S. generating capacity. Five years ago, renewables were 16.24 percent. Thus, the nation’s renewable energy capacity has been adding, on average, a percentage point each year.

Total wind generating capacity (97.18 GW) is rapidly closing in on that of hydropower (100.33 GW) and seems certain to overtake it sometime this year. Meanwhile the generating capacity of all renewables combined (254.57 GW) is about to surpass that of coal (264.49 GW) – again, very possibly in 2019. In addition, utility-scale solar has now surpassed 3 percent of the nation’s generating capacity (i.e., 3.09 percent).

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Ken Bossong is the Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. The SUN DAY Campaign is a non-profit research and educational organization founded in 1993 to promote sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels.

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