All New Electricity Generating Capacity Added In April Was From Wind And Solar

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Renewable energy continues to run the table in the United States. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects has released its latest “Energy Infrastructure Update,” and it shows that all of the new electricity generating capacity brought online during the month of April in the United States was from wind and solar.

That capped off an impressive first third of the year for clean energy growth. Of the 1,900 megawatts of generating capacity added to the US’s energy mix in the four months from January to April 2015, more than 60 percent was from wind (1,170 MW), nearly 20 percent was from solar (362 MW), and another 2.4 percent was from geothermal steam (45 MW).

In total, those three clean energy sources — geothermal, solar and wind — accounted for about 83% of all new generating capacity brought into service in the US so far this year, while no new capacity from biomass, coal, nuclear or oil has been reported.

No new natural gas capacity was reported for the month of April, though a little over 300 MW of new capacity has been brought online so far year-to-date – down from over 1,500 MW in the same time period last year.

Yet even as the economic benefits of clean energy are becoming increasingly self-evident, GOP lawmakers in several states are voting to roll back targets for scaling up renewables.

Republicans in Kansas and West Virginia are the latest to cast votes to dismantle their state’s renewable energy portfolio standards. Ohio became the first state to roll back its renewable energy standards last year, and has been held up as a cautionary tale about bad economic choices ever since.

“With renewable energy’s clear track record of success and the ever-worsening threat of climate change, now is not the time to pull back from these technologies but rather to greatly expand investments in them,” Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign, said in a statement sent to DeSmog.

Wind energy now accounts for nearly six percent of total installed generating capacity in the US. While solar is just over 1 percent of that total, it is poised to explode over the coming year.

Citing Energy Information Administration data available as of March 2015, Bloomberg projects solar capacity will grow more than 30 percent over the next 12 months, writing, “Move over, shale. The sun is now the fastest-growing source of U.S. electricity.”

Per the projections, wind will enjoy another 12 percent growth, while natural gas will see just 1-2 percent in new capacity.

A recent Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecast projected as much as 7 percent of coal energy generation will shut down in 2015.
 

Image Credit: Vaclav Volrab / Shutterstock.com

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Mike Gaworecki is a San Francisco-based journalist who writes about energy, climate, and forest issues for DeSmogBlog and Mongabay.com. His writing has appeared on BillMoyers.com, Alternet, Treehugger, Change.org, Huffington Post, and more. He is also a novelist whose debut “The Mysticist” came out via FreemadeSF in 2014.

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