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Over 99% of America's new electric capacity came from renewables last month

21 February 2014
Over 99% of America's new electric capacity came from renewables last month

NEW YORK: New data from the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) reveals that more than 99% of new capacity installed in the US in January came from renewables.

Last month 325 megawatts of new electric capacity was added in the US, a total that was reached almost completely by new installations of renewable energy sources.

Solar power dominated with 287 megawatts (MW) added, followed by geothermal energy with 30MW, and trailed by 4MW of wind energy and 3MW of biomass.

However, the FERC data underscores that while renewables lead the way for new capacity, traditional fuels are still the prevailing energy source for generating capacity. New renewables capacity was also down on totals for the same period last year.

But despite a minority hold on generating capacity, renewable energy has been steadily growing in the US. According to a US Department of Energy (DoE) report, solar PV deployment in the US grew tenfold since 2008, from about 735MW to over 7,200MW. This growth resulted from a roughly 75% decline in PV costs--from US$3.40/watt to about US$0.80/watt--that took place at the same time. 

The DoE also released data last year showing that wind power capacity has more than tripled between 2008-2012, to over 60MW in total. In 2012, wind was America’s largest source of new electrical capacity, accounting for 43% of all new installations.

This clean energy growth in the US suggests both new installed and generating capacity from renewables could continue to rise in 2014. 

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By Clare Saxon

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