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Renewable energy provides half of all new U.S. power generating capacity in 2012

Renewable energy provides half of all new U.S. power generating capacity in 2012
Wind and solar added most of new power installations in 2012

Renewable energy accounts for half of all new electrical generating capacity in the United States in 2012, according to the latest report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects.

The Energy Infrastructure Update found that renewables, including biomass, geothermal, solar, water and wind, provided 49.10 percent of all new domestic power installations in the twelve months of 2012, with a total of 12,956 megawatts.

Of which, more than a quarter or roughly 3,276 MW was added during the month of December alone, noted the report.

Wind significantly led new installations, with 164 new units having 10,689 MW, followed by solar with 240 units having 1,476 MW. Biomass put in 100 new units having 543 MW, while geothermal and water each had 13 units with installed capacity of 149 MW and 99 MW respectively.

The report showed that new capacity from renewables in 2012 saw an increase by 51.16 percent compared to 2011 when they only installed 8,571 MW and accounted for just 39.33 percent of new capacity.

Completing the U.S.’ all new electrical generating capacity last year, natural gas added 33.15 percent (8,746 MW), coal 17.09 percent (2,510 MW), nuclear 0.47 percent (125 MW) and oil 0.19 percent (49 MW).

Currently, renewable energy contributes 15.40 percent of overall installed generating capacity in the U.S. This is relatively higher than the combined shares of nuclear energy at 9.24 percent and oil at 3.57 percent.

“If there were still any lingering doubts about the ability of renewable energy technologies to come on-line quickly and in amounts sufficient to displace fossil fuels and nuclear power, the 2012 numbers have put those doubts to rest,” said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign, a non-profit research and educational organization.

“Not only has renewable energy become a major player in the U.S. electrical generation market, but it has also emerged in 2012 as the reigning champion.” – C.Dominguez



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