For electric vehicle drivers concerned about "dirty coal" taking away the environmental benefits of electrified transportation, we've found some good news. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has just released its annual report on sources of new energy capacity for domestic electric power plants. Renewable energy accounted for 37.16 percent of new power plant capacity. Natural gas dominated new capacity at 52 percent last year, while old king coal dropped down to just around 11 percent of new capacity. Given the historical make-up of the grid in the US, coal still produced more electricity last year than renewable energy, but FERC's report shows the potential for green energy to play a bigger role in the future.

The latest Energy Infrastructure Update report from the FERC's Office of Energy Projects says that renewable energy (i.e., solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydropower) accounted for 5,279 megawatts (MW) of new capacity during calendar year 2013. Solar was the leading renewable energy at 2,936 MW, with 266 new "units" (output power of power plant generators) in 2013; wind was the second highest renewable source at 1,129 MW and 18 units; biomass had 777 MW and 97 new units; water had 378 MW and 19 new units; geothermal steam had 59 MW and four new units.

Not long ago, coal generated over half the energy in the US, but that's been changing.

Not long ago, coal made up more than half of power plant energy generated in the US, but that's been changing as natural gas has taken off and renewables start to grow. Last year, natural gas produced 51.17 percent of new power capacity at 7,270 MW; that was followed by renewable energy at 5,279 MW; then by coal at 1,543 MW and 10.86 percent of the total; waste heat came in at 76 MW (0.53 percent) and oil at 38 MW (0.27 percent). Nuclear energy is included in the report but it appears to be shrinking in its share of the electric grid, producing zero percent of new MW last year. See the press release below for more on the FERC's report.
RENEWABLE ENERGY PROVIDES 37% OF ALL NEW U.S. ELECTRICAL GENERATING CAPACITY IN 2013

SOLAR SURPASSED ONLY BY NATURAL GAS

NEW RENEWABLE CAPACITY MORE THAN TRIPLE
COAL, OIL, AND NUCLEAR POWER COMBINED

For Release: Monday, January 27, 2014

Washington DC – According to the latest "Energy Infrastructure Update" report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Office of Energy Projects, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) accounted for 37.16% of all new domestic electrical generating capacity installed during calendar-year 2013 for a total of 5,279 MW.

That is more than three-times that provided for the year by coal (1,543 MW - 10.86), and nuclear power (0 MW - 0.00). Waste heat provided the balance of new generating capacity - 76 MW (0.53%).

Among renewable energy sources, solar led the way in 2013 with 266 new "units" totaling 2,936 MW followed by wind with 18 units totaling 1,129 MW. Biomass added 97 new units totaling 777 MW while water had 19 new units with an installed capacity of 378 MW and geothermal steam had four new units (59 MW).

The newly installed capacity being provided by the solar units is second only to that of natural gas. The new solar capacity in 2013 is 42.80% higher than that for the same period in 2012.

For the two-year period (January 1, 2012 - December 31, 2013), renewable energy sources accounted for 47.38% of all new generation capacity placed in-service (20,809 MW).

Renewable energy sources now account for 15.97, wind - 5.20, solar - 0.64. This is more than nuclear (9.25) combined. *

# # # # # # # #

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released its most recent 5-page "Energy Infrastructure Update," with data through December 31, 2013, on January 24, 2014. See the tables titled "New Generation In-Service (New Build and Expansion)" and "Total Installed Operating Generating Capacity" at http://www.ferc.gov/legal/staff-reports/2013/dec-energy-infrastructure.pdf.

* Note that generating capacity is not the same as actual generation. Actual net electrical generation from renewable energy sources in the United States now totals about 13% according to the most recent data (i.e., as of November 2013) provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 34 Comments
      • 10 Months Ago
      There is no myth about saving money , creating new clean environmental jobs that doesn't course black lung cancers and it can save us 50 to 75% in cost saving to provide power to homes and businesses. It is like we go to buy a product and store manager offers 75% discount to customers , if they buy the product between 7 AM and 5 PM. Who would refuse to save money? So don't let powerful Oil , Coal and other spacial interest to miss guyed you, who are polluting our world and laughing all the way to bank with high priced polluting energy.
      DaveMart
      • 10 Months Ago
      The press release is deeply misleading unless the asterisked comment at the bottom is given huge emphasis: ' Note that generating capacity is not the same as actual generation. Actual net electrical generation from renewable energy sources in the United States now totals about 13% according to the most recent data (i.e., as of November 2013) provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.' That is why water (hydro) is far and away the biggest source of renewable energy in the US, why wind as given above has to be divided by a factor of around 3 for the numbers given in the main press release, and why the percentage of actual generated energy from solar is not 0.64% as shown above, in nominal capacity, but around 0.1% or so in actual energy generated. What a crazy and misleading press release! One would almost imagine that some of the people responsible for it had an agenda! ;-)
        CoolWaters
        • 10 Months Ago
        @DaveMart
        Then, there should be another note. You generate nearly 100% of your install capacity rating during the 10-2 sunshine hours, at PEAK Energy Price levels, and save a Fortune.
      • 10 Months Ago
      By limiting your piece to "new" sources you omit those under attack by the government; anything involving the combustion of carbon to produce CO2. CO2 is a “trace gas” in air, insignificant by definition. It absorbs 1/7th as much IR, heat energy, from sunlight as water vapor which has 188 times as many molecules capturing 1200 times as much heat making 99.9% of all "global warming." CO2 does only 0.1% of it. For this we should destroy our economy? The Medieval Warming from 800 AD to 1300 AD Micheal Mann erased to make his "hockey stick" was several degrees warmer than anything "global warmers" fear. It was 500 years of great abundance for the world. The Vostock Ice Core data analysis show CO2 increases follow temperature increases by 800 years 19 times in 450,000 years. That makes temperature change cause and CO2 change effect; not the other way around. Carbon combustion generates 80% of our energy. Control and taxing of carbon would give the elected ruling class more power and money than anything since the Magna Carta of 1215 AD. Most scientists and science educators work for tax supported institutions eager to help government raise more money for them. And, they love being seen as "saving the planet." Google "Two Minute Conservative," http://adrianvance.blogspot.com and When you speak fine ladies will swoon and liberal gentlemen will weep.
        skierpage
        • 10 Months Ago
        Your pitiful tired factoids add up to nothing. In case anyone reading thinks "Hmm, I didn't know that, maybe all those pointy-headed scientists are wrong", let's go through them. Water vapor: It is indeed the primary greenhouse gas. But it's already accounted for in both science and models, it's the reason the Earth's temperature is approximately 14 °C and not a moon-like −18 °C. What's YOUR explanation for the observed increase in average global temperature of about 0.8 °C since the early 20th century? Medieval Warm Period: look at a globe and realize the long warm period in the North Atlantic and Europe only occurred a small part of the world. "The warmest period of the last 2,000 years prior to the 20th century very likely occurred between 950 and 1100, but temperatures were probably between 0.1 °C and 0.2 °C below the 1961 to 1990 mean and significantly below the level shown by instrumental data after 1980." Vostok ice cores: anti-AGW people insist other factors than greenhouse gases could cause the undeniable observed warming in the last 150 years (even though there has been no continuing change in solar output, orbit perturbation, or volcanic activity), while simultaneously denying the possibility of other factors when looking at the climate record. The general conclusion is solar variability from changes in the earth's orbit can cause small temperature variation, and then CO2 increase caused large temperature changes. http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature.htm explains it well. And the latest science suggests "the age difference in Antarctic temperature and CO2 levels is less than we previously thought." http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ice-core-data-help-solve/ Any scientist to offer a credible alternative to accepted climate science will receive millions in funding, and instant fame (Lindzen is famous, now name the 42nd climate scientist agreeing with the consensus). Yet all the way back in 1995, the fossil fuel industry's Global Climate Coalition "own scientific and technical experts were advising that the science backing the role of greenhouse gases in global warming could not be refuted." So their advocacy shifted to PR campaigns and think tanks sowing doubt for people like you, since there's no scientific basis for debunking.
        CoolWaters
        • 10 Months Ago
        You bought the Senile argument hook line and sinker.
        GoodCheer
        • 10 Months Ago
        "When you speak fine ladies will swoon and liberal gentlemen will weep." Will we all be able to sound as smart as you, random internet guy who's figured out all this stuff that the world's greatest institutions of science all get so very wrong?
        Marco Polo
        • 10 Months Ago
        @ Adrian Vance While I not in total agreement with your conclusions, I fear you have invited the usual mocking response from enviro-pests, who know nothing of the actual science, but focus on political rhetoric. I'm not a 'climate skeptic (whatever that terms means), but, nor do I concur with the religious fervor of climate activists. Rational analysis and logic has been abandoned, in favour of political ideology and intolerance. With so many reputations, and vast amounts of public money, invested in maintaining support for what has, for many become a religious conviction . Both sides have employed the propaganda tactic of the 'big lie' . Fanatical zealots hi-jack emotive terms such as "denier", to silence, even the mildest of critics. Politicians, have been less than helpful. In a period of complex economic change, support for "Green Projects", brought popularity, and electoral success, especially among the left, and the young. As most of these projects, and technologies failed to achieve the promised unrealistic expectations, supporters, advocates and politicians, excused to the hemorrhaging of public funds and accumulation of vast public debt, by invoking the rally cry of Climate Change. ( The same as "National Security" can also excuse failed policies, incompetence and misbehavior). All over the world, the moderates in the centre, have lost faith in the dramatic, apocalyptic prediction of the more hysterical climate change advocates. The national leaders who attended the talk-fests in Kyoto and Copenhagen, and have either revised their support, or lost office. The economic costs of failed projects are beginning to become apparent. The reputation of the environmental movement has been done great damage by the antics of hysterical fanatics. Tragically, the actual science, has also been a casualty of so much distorted disinformation.
          Marco Polo
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @ skierpage Where do I start ? " Cool Waters ", believes in 5 years 7 months and a few days, all US power will be derived from Solar power plants ! (that's one of his more rational beliefs). Do you share this belief ? My post attempted to explain the massive decline in public support for climate change activism, over the last 2-3 years. Your post is an excellent example. Angrily berating those you regard as heretic's, right wing crazies, oil shills etc, worked for a while. Eventually, the vast majority of the public, just got sick of the abuse, and intolerant fanatic's. They have grown even more tired of failed projects, declining economies,and a promised "brave new world" that failed to materialize. . Unfortunately when this happens, real achievements also suffer. I give you one small example, (you can find similar all over the world) On Saturday 24 November 2007, Australian voters, in a burst of "green" enthusiasm, elected a centre left-green Party, government. The new government appointed a popular " climate scientist-activist as " Chief Commissioner of the Climate Commission, (a Federal Government body providing "information" on climate change to the Australian public) . This lavishly funded government department, compiled studies, and provided advice to federal and state governments. One of it's more famous predictions, was that the 8 year drought Australia was suffered, would become semi-permanent over much of the country, especially in Queensland. Tim Flannery and his department of highly paid experts, "scientifically" proved that Queensland was irreversibly locked into drought, and the desertification of large areas of previously arable land, along with dry rivers, would become. Left wing journalists, comic's, students, scientists, cartoonists, academics and TV pundits ridiculed and reviled Prof. Ian Plimer, as a "climate denier", for warning the Queensland Labour government against neglecting, and even demolishing, river levees and flood prevention. In 2010 and 2011, devastating floods swept Queensland. Immense economic damage and hardship occurred, as well as tragic loss of life. Naturally, the Queensland labour-green Government was also swept out of office ! In 2013, the incoming Federal conservative government, sacked Tim Flannery, and abolished the grandly titled propaganda machine. Tim Flannery never admitted he got it wrong, nor apologized to the people of Queensland. As Chairman of the Copenhagen Climate Council, Tim Flannery, whose only scientific qualification is in mammalogy, is accredited as a "Climate Scientist" , whereas Professor Ian Plimer with qualifications in physics,geology, (professor emeritus of earth sciences at the University of Melbourne etc) in not considered a "climate Scientist" ! Incidents like these, serve to alienate public support, especially as the faulty methodology behind many of the more alarmist theories, are becoming apparent.
          skierpage
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Why do you always change the subject away from the drivel and lies about climate spouted by the clueless to loaded vague criticism of "enviro-pests" and "hysterical climate change advocates" who correctly trash this nonsense? You're as dumb as Adrian Vance if you think the truth of scientific matters is obtained by listening to rhetoric and then coming down in the tepid middle between "two sides" when one is composed of the scientific community refining an obvious theory (increasing greenhouse gases will warm the planet) first quantified 117 years ago, and the other is pundits, politicians, oil company shills, and fools.. Please name the distorted disinformation, whatever that means, about global warming science from Cool Waters, GoodCheer, Ryan, and myself. You surely understand the difference between climate science and the political and economic analysis of what to do about its predictions? Please enlighten us all on whether you or not you agree that "during the 21st century the global surface temperature is likely to rise a further 1.1 to 2.9 °C (2.0 to 5.2 °F) for their lowest emissions scenario and 2.4 to 6.4 °C (4.3 to 11.5 °F) for their highest." Because that IS THE ACTUAL SCIENCE. Does only the higher range qualify for "apocalyptic", or are both just fine with you?
        Ryan
        • 10 Months Ago
        Most conservative media liars get paid off by the much bigger oil and coal company lobbyists. I wouldn't even be surprised if they don't give 'jobs' and pay off a bunch of right-wing people to push their agenda anytime a climate article comes up. Anyways, it won't "destroy our economy". It might make the stock prices of some oil and coal companies go down and reduce their political influence though.
      jebibudala
      • 10 Months Ago
      This is a win in my book! Although, environmentalists differ. See, these massive arrays of solar panels cook and blind birds mid flight. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/11/10/bird-feathers-singed-solar-power/3491617/
        Sean
        • 10 Months Ago
        @jebibudala
        That's only concentrated solar thermal, and my understanding is that Photovoltaics is more common.
          jebibudala
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Sean
          Come take a visit to the Arizona solar farms and I'll show you hundreds of dead birds in the immediate vicinity of the panel distribution sites. They are the average traditional solar panels. Hell, there's even staff to round up the dead birds on a weekly basis just so the crazy environmentalists don't blow a head gasket. This has been going on for years. People just don't like to talk about it, or look the other way. Nothing going on here.
          Ryan
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Sean
          And outdoor cats kill lots of birds too, but some people want to have those...
          Joeviocoe
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Sean
          Maybe we need smarter birds to evolve. But seriously, how many birds were killed (or habitat destroyed) when they blow up a mountain for Coal mining??? Not to mention the other animals. Just because these birds are more visible, doesn't mean that they are the only ones.
          DarylMc
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Sean
          Well killing birds does matter. Solar thermal is clearly injuring some birds. So is agriculture, mining, current energy production and just about everything humans do. jebibudala should stop spreading garbage stories about solar panels. Flat plate PV panels are not going to harm birds. It's ludicrous to suggest so and it makes me wonder what his motives are.
          Marco Polo
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Sean
          @ Joeviocoe "Maybe we need smarter birds to evolve " So,...lets see, it's ok for some industries (those you like), to pursue unenvironmental activities, but not others ? With that sort of moral expediency, have you ever thought of a career in public relations ?
        skierpage
        • 10 Months Ago
        @jebibudala
        There are environmental downsides to all activity. But the loss of biodiversity (i.e. mass extinctions) from climate change is eight or more orders of magnitude worse than hundreds of deaths around any power station. It's not moral expediency, it's weighing pros and cons. And yes, your same USA Today reported a study "Cats kill up to 3.7B birds annually" (10,000,000 more deaths reported around that plant), yet there's far more hand-wringing over thousands of bird deaths from wind turbines and solar plants that overall will reduce environmental degradation. Sadly most people lack the math skills to make sense of news reports.
      • 10 Months Ago
      Renewables are very important for a change. But how much change will it be exactly? We have a very good source to find this out, which is the U.S. Department of Energy / U.S. Energy Information Administration (I already shared this document in my earlier post) “Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (AEO2014) Reference case focus on the factors that shape U.S. energy markets through 2040” http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/er/pdf/0383er(2014).pdf Energy consumption by primary fuel: “Total primary energy consumption grows by 12% from 95 quadrillion Btu in 2012 to 106 quadrillion Btu in 2040.” And the most important part: “The fossil fuel share of energy consumption falls from 82% in 2012 to 80% in 2040, as consumption of petroleum-based liquid fuels declines, largely as a result of slower growth in VMT [Vehicle-miles traveled] and increased vehicle efficiency.” [Yes, fossil fuels share of energy consumption will be only 2°% less] And now about the electricity generation by fuel: “Figure 13. Electricity generation by fuel, 1990-2040 (trillion kilowatthours)” It shows the following data (2040): - Coal 32% - Natural gas 35% - Nuclear 16% - Oil and other liquids 1% - Renewables 16% So compared to the most recent data of 13% renewables share (Nov. 2013) it will be 16% in 2040, which is exactly 3% growth. Thus, here’s where reality ruthlessly kicks in again: Fossil fuel share of energy consumption in 2040 will be a mere 2% less than in 2012, while renewables will grow by 3%. For all intents and purposes it is simply a negligible change. Straightforward conclusion: Practically almost the very same source of energy will power the respectively 1% new sales of battery electric vehicles / PHEVs in 2040 as today.
        Marco Polo
        • 10 Months Ago
        @ krisztiant As usual, the logic and quality of sources in your post, makes for interesting reading. However, while not refuting your logic, I would take issue with your conclusion. The predictions you site do not allow for radical development in energy technology. While it's true that Solar generation is currently either mostly wasted or needing massive subsidies, that could easily change with the development of storage capacity and improvements in collector technology. Likewise, the amount of promising research in dramatically improving EV ESD capacity, would have a dramatic effect on oil consumption. Chevron is rapidly expanding it's Geo-thermal technology. (Who knows, even H2 may prove viable?) Meanwhile, coal is becoming less and less economic to mine. IMO, speed of technology is increasing so rapidly, that any predictions for the next 3 decades, will inevitably prove inaccurate.
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @Marco Naturally, nobody can predict the future, especially the future of technology, that’s why they call it projections (as opposed to predictions). Thus, if you know how the “laws and regulations… (or your intentions) throughout the projection period” work, you can easily project (so not predict) even very long term trends and their results as well (of course if the laws and regulations / your intentions doesn't change in the meantime). And about objectiveness (since you mentioned it): it is not really possible to remain ‘objective’ in the process of projecting the energy outlook of the future (as opposed to e.g. a science study) since this is mainly politics, where you have to make decisions, while in science you don’t (or shouldn't) make decisions but rather attempt to discover the truths about the natural world, using a well described and controlled process. That’s why it’s close to impossible to talk about the objectivity of this reference case since these are mainly decisions, i.e. cognitive processes resulting in the selection of a belief and/or a course of action among several alternative possibilities producing a final choice (if you know what I mean). But of course you are free to have opinions about them.
          Marco Polo
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @ krisztiant Absolutely. However, regrettably many people misinterpret predictions or projections, as accurate blue prints for the future and convert conjecture into dogma. Thus the 'projection' becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy, and great harm is done as innovation is suppressed in the name of orthodoxy.
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Hi Marco, while I also wouldn't refute the logic of your post, I simply explain the issue you addressed: First of all, here’s the very beginning of the Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (early release overview): “Projections in the Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (AEO2014) Reference case focus on the factors that shape U.S. energy markets through 2040, under the assumption that current laws and regulations remain generally unchanged throughout the projection period. The early release provides a basis for the examination and discussion of energy market trends and serves as a starting point for analysis of potential changes in U.S. energy policies, rules, or regulations or possible technology breakthroughs.” As you can see, they already addressed your concerns and created the reference case “under the assumption that current laws and regulations remain generally unchanged [keyword: generally] throughout the projection period” as a “basis for the examination and discussion of energy market trends” serving a “starting point for analysis of potential changes in U.S. energy policies, rules, or regulations”, furthermore, they also took into consideration “possible technology breakthroughs”, which you mentioned. This is a very professional outlook of the energy markets – actually the best ‘money can buy’ - and waaaaay better than wild guessing. And from my cited data alone (even without analyzing the whole document), anybody can easily and unmistakably conclude, that the energy policy focus will strongly remain on political / economic security (i.e. domestic natural gas, crude oil, coal production) than renewables (hence the result of 16%). And that was precisely my point to conclude in my original post.
          Marco Polo
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @ krisztiant There's nothing in your reply that I could disagree with, except to say that in my experience, all predictions (even the best money can buy ) simply can't accurately predict the future of technology. If nothing else the rise of Tesla Motors to a company capitalized at nearly $20 billion, would've been impossible to predict ten years ago. My comment wasn't really addressed at this particular study, but at the difficulties in compiling any prediction. The objectiveness of any study becomes contaminated once 'qualifications' are introduced.
        Dave
        • 10 Months Ago
        “Total primary energy consumption grows by 12% from 95 quadrillion Btu in 2012 to 106 quadrillion Btu in 2040.....The fossil fuel share of energy consumption falls from 82% in 2012 to 80% in 2040" So..... 95 quads x 82% = 77.9 quads of fossil fuels in 2012 106 quads x 80% = 84.8 quads of fossil fuels in 2040
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Dave
          Exactly.
      TIMMAH!
      • 10 Months Ago
      Wow you mean the naysayers gloom and doom isn't reality?!? Say it isn't so!
      jeff
      • 10 Months Ago
      All we need now if better batteries to store solar power and much of the country could shift to that power source... It is ironic that the electric vehicle R&D just provide the answer to it's own energy source...
        Dave
        • 10 Months Ago
        @jeff
        Don't use the word ironic. You don't know what it means.
          jeff
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Dave
          Don't be an a$$...
        Ryan
        • 10 Months Ago
        @jeff
        Only if people will install it themselves (and act like responsible adults), or utilities can build big plants with approval from government to convert the people who don't care about or act against environmental issues.
      Luc K
      • 10 Months Ago
      Well this is only about new energy plants. It ignores the current powerplants which obviously is much bigger share. Correct?
        Sir Duke
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Luc K
        How old were you at birth? Everything starts somewhere, or is your argument that we shouldn't even try?
    • Load More Comments