100% Of New Power Capacity In US Came From Renewable Energy In …

December 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

renewable energy november

Published on December 21st, 2013
by Zachary Shahan


renewable energy november

I got news of this a couple of days ago and decided to pass on covering the story since we basically already covered it 3 weeks ago, when the news was that 99% of new power capacity added in November would come from renewables. That somehow changed to 100% once the final figures were announced, but I figured it wasn’t really worth doing another story over a change from 99% to 100%.

But the news has been blowing up across the internets, so I changed my mind and decided to quickly put this piece up.

Notably, this isn’t the first month this year in which renewables accounted for 100% of new power capacity. The same thing occurred in March. Actually, in March, solar power alone accounted for all new power capacity.

Nonetheless, this is great news, and it deserves to go viral. And it would be great if this happened every month!

Here are the full details from FERC on the split for November:

  • 0 natural gas power plants placed into service = 0 MW
  • oil power plants placed into service = 0 MW
  • 0 coal power plants placed into service = 0 MW
  • 0 nuclear power plants placed into service = 0 MW
  • 0 waste heat power plants placed into service = 0 MW
  • water power plant placed into service = 4 MW
  • 4 wind power plants placed into service = 81 MW
  • 1 geothermal steam power plant placed into service = 25 MW
  • 8 biomass power plants placed into service = 108 MW
  • 14 solar power plants placed into service = 177 MW

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Image: screenshot of FERC report

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he’s the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

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  • Coal has dropped to only 29% of our power generation… having been primarily replaced by natural gas growing to 42% thanks to the fracking boom. I think that overall this is good news. A temporary surge in natural gas is killing coal much faster than renewables could have… but when the cheap natural gas starts to run low coal will be more expensive than renewables and they will thus grow to replace natural gas just as quickly as it has grown to replace coal.

    Basically, the cheapest power source wins. That used to be coal, now it is natural gas, but soon the temporary surge in natural gas supplies will end and solar/wind will be the cheapest power source available.

    • Thus the need to remove government support for and add a price on carbon, to help the market understand some of the external costs of coal/gas/oil. And make a informed “cheapest power source” wins.

    • Where’s that?

      US is running about 40% coal and 25% NG.

      Wind has pretty much reached parity with new CCNG. Solar is pushing gas peakers off the table.

  • Year to date is still 64.5% coal/oil/gas (mostly gas), Nuclear(0), renewable(35.5%). Which is better than the 84% installed base for coal/oil/gas/nuclear. But still a lot of room for improvement.

    • Indeed.

  • Looking at the data it would appear that wind has collapsed this year. Solar is taking over a lot of the slack.

    • US wind got really jerked around by the subsidy legislation.

      In order to qualify for the subsidy in 2012 the project had to be on line and producing. That meant there was a great rush to get projects started and finished by Dec 31.

      The 2013 subsidy wasn’t established until late and that meant that people didn’t get started right way after the first of the year. That created a break in the action.

      Now that the subsidy legislation is a bit more sane we should see less of the start/rush to finish/wait type development.

      • Let me add to that.

        The way the 2013 subsidy is set up a wind farm needs to be 5% completed by the end of 2013. I expect companies got a number of projects past the 5% point and will complete them next year.

        They will have locked in the subsidy and will have plenty to do without having to wait for the 2014 subsidy program to be put in place.

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