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Distributed generation shows slight growth

Electricity output around the nation was up a scant 0.1 percent last year, compared to 2014, according to newly released figures by the EEI Business Information Group.

By region, output was down in the following regions: New England, Central Industrial, West Central, Pacific Northwest and Pacific Southwest.

Output was up slightly in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, South Central and Rocky Mountain regions, EEI said.

Total U.S. electric output stood at 4,019,387 gigawatt-hours in 2015, according to EEI.

Overall net summer electricity capacity reached 1,068,422 megawatts in 2014, according to the latest figures of the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That was up 0.7 percent from 1,060,063 megawatts one year earlier.

Those figures combine the output of electric utilities, independent power producers and the commercial and industrial sectors.

It is widely believed that the transformation of the U.S. economy as we pivot to service and high tech sectors and away from heavy industry is lessening demand for power. In addition major efforts to boost energy efficiency are having a pronounced effect.

Some skeptics, however, believe assertions that electric output and capacity is static fails to account for increased deployments of distributed generation.

But while the number of “distributed and dispersed generators” is on the rise – the output remains relatively modest. The government defines distributed generators as commercial and industrial assets that are connected to the grid, while dispersed generators are not.

According to federal figures, distributed and dispersed generation amounted to just 5,552 megawatts in 2014.

There were 225,698 distributed and dispersed generators in 2014, up 5.4 percent from 2013, EIA figures show.


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