Large renewables projects – largely wind and solar – accounted for half of the power capacity additions of utilities last year, says the federal government.
Of the 25,000 megawatts of utility-scale generating capacity erected last year – half was renewable, according to a new report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
It was the fourth consecutive year that reneweables represented half or move of new electric capacity in the United States.
On top of that, an additional 3,500 megawatts of small scale wind and solar projects came online last year, EIA said.
“Monthly U.S. renewable electricity generation peaked in March at 67.5 billion kilowatt-hours, or 21 percent of total utility-scale electricity generation,” EIA said. “In late spring, the melting snowpack from a winter characterized by higher-than-average levels of precipitation increased hydroelectric generation, while strong wind resources in March also produced a peak in monthly wind generation for the year.”
Some highlights of the trend, of particular note to industry followers, include:
California satisfied more than half of its midday electric demand in the early spring.
Large renewable project generation for the first time exceeded the output of the nation’s entire fleet of nuclear power plants in the March – May period.