New U.S. Electricity Generation in October: 99% Renewable

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Written By: Jim Greenberg

Renewable energy sources, including solar, biomass, and wind power, provided 99% (694 megawatts) of all newly added energy generation in the United States in October, reveals a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) report.
1246185272According to the latest Energy Infrastructure Update from the FERC, the U.S. added 669 megawatts (MW) of capacity to produce electricity in October. Of that power, 99% (694 MW) came from renewable energy sources. The remaining 1% (5 MW) came from oil.

The majority of the additional electricity was generated by solar units, which account for 72.1% (504 MW) of the new energy.

Much of this increase in use is due to advances in solar cell research, which have resulted in significant cost reductions in photovoltaic cells while increasing their efficiency. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Rooftop Solar Challenge—an initiative empowering local governments to make it easier and cheaper for Americans to install solar—has also contributed to the increase.

Other renewables making up the 99% of October’s additional electrical generating capacity were four biomass units contributing 17.7% (124MW) and two wind units contributing for 9% (66MW).

So far in 2013, renewables have accounted for one third of the U.S.’s new electricity’s ey generation. Solar alone is generating 20% (2,528 MW) of new energy—doubling 2012’s total of 1,257 MW. Despite this increase, new U.S. energy generation remains dominated by fossil fuels, with natural gas contributing 53% (6,625 MW).

Renewable energy sources now account for nearly 16% of all installed U.S operating generation capacity. Water accounts for most of the 16%, followed by wind (5.21%), biomass (1.32%), solar (0.59%), and finally geothermal steam (0.33). These figures show that renewable energy sources are gaining on nuclear (9.22%) and oil (4.06%) resources.