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Clean energy accounted for more than two-thirds of the new US electrical generating capacity added during the first six months of 2022, according to data recently released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Wind (5,722 megawatts) and solar (3,895 MW) provided 67.01% of the 14,352 MW in utility-scale (that is, greater than 1 MW) capacity that came online during the first half of 2022.
Additional capacity was provided by geothermal (26 MW), hydropower (7 MW), and biomass (2 MW). The balance came from natural gas (4,695 MW) and oil (5 MW). No new capacity was reported for 2022 from either nuclear power or coal.
This brings clean energy’s share of total US available installed generating capacity up to 26.74%. To put that in perspective, five years ago, clean energy’s share was 19.7%. Ten years ago, it was 14.76%.
FERC reports that there may be as much as 192,507 MW of new solar capacity on the way, with 66,315 MW classified as “high-probability” additions and no offsetting “retirements.”
The “high-probability” additions alone would nearly double utility-scale solar’s current installed capacity of 74,530 MW, while successful completion of all expected projects would nearly quadruple it.
Notably, FERC’s forecast predates President Joe Biden signing into law the Inflation Reduction Act, and that will likely ramp up solar growth even more.
In addition, new wind capacity by June 2025 could total 70,393 MW, with 17,383 MW being “high probability” and only 158 MW of retirements expected. Thus, installed wind capacity could grow by at least 12%.
“High-probability” generation capacity additions for utility-scale solar and wind combined, minus anticipated retirements, reflect a projected net increase of 83,540 MW over the next three years, or over 2,300 MW per month. That figure does not include new distributed, small-scale solar capacity or additions by hydropower, geothermal, and biomass.
SUN DAY Campaign’s executive director Ken Bossong, who reviewed and reported on the data, said in an emailed statement:
With each new monthly Infrastructure report from FERC, the prospects for renewable sources, especially solar and wind, brighten while those for natural gas, coal, and nuclear power continue to slide. By the end of this decade, the mix of renewable energy sources should constitute the largest share of the nation’s electrical generating capacity.
Article by: Michelle Lewis
Photo by Kindel Media on Pexels.com
On August 7, the Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes long-term solar and storage tax incentives, investments in domestic solar manufacturing, and other critical provisions that will help decarbonize the electric grid with significant clean energy deployment.
The Inflation Reduction Act is expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 40% below 2005 levels by 2030, according to The New York Times. It includes a 10-year extension of the solar ITC at 30% for both residential and commercial/utility-scale projects, direct pay for nonprofit and governmental entities, a 30% ITC for standalone storage, manufacturing credits for solar components, and much more.
“Today is a monumental day for America’s clean energy progress and global climate leadership. With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in the Senate, solar and storage companies are one step closer to having the business certainty they need to make the long-term investments that decarbonize the electric grid and create millions of new career opportunities in cities and towns across the country,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president, and CEO of SEIA, in a statement.
“This legislation is the most transformational investment America has ever made in our climate future, and we are thankful to our members, the clean energy community, and every one of our solar champions in Congress for their work to get us to this historic moment,” she continued. “The solar industry has set a goal to account for 30% of all U.S. electricity generation by 2030, and this legislation will be a catalyst for reaching that target. Now the work can begin to build out America’s clean energy economy with historic deployment, domestic manufacturing, investments in low-income communities, energy storage, smoother interconnection and so much more.”
“This legislation demonstrates that we don’t have to choose between good jobs and a clean environment, as some falsely claim. The Inflation Reduction Act supports both. This bill will create good-paying union jobs across the country while driving down the emissions causing climate change. It will be a game-changer in growing clean energy, revitalizing manufacturing, and building resilient communities,” said BlueGreen Alliance executive director Jason Walsh, in a statement.
The House is planning to reconvene on Friday to pass the bill and send it to President Biden, according to The New York Times.
Article by: Kelsey Misbrener