Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Renewables Largest Increase in Electricity Capacity for First Time

We've been hearing that renewable energy is a fast-growing sector, and now it's official: The Energy Information Administration's (EIA) latest report found that renewable energy made up the biggest share in the U.S.'s electricity capacity increase in 2007. The huge wind power industry, not surprisingly, accounts for most of this increase. According to the EIA's Electrical Power Annual report:
  • Total net summer capacity increased 8,673 megawatts (MW) in 2007. Wind capacity accounted for 5,186 MW of this new capacity.
  • In spite of setting a record level for generation in 2007, coal’s share of total net generation continued its downward trend that year. It accounted for 48.5 percent of total net generation, as compared to 49.0 percent in 2006 and 52.8 percent in 1997. Retirements and downward adjustments to existing capacity resulted in a 217 MW net reduction in coal-fired capacity.
  • Net generation from conventional hydroelectric plants declined 14.4 percent in 2007. The decline is due to drought conditions, evaporation caused by above normal summer temperatures and below average precipitation in the Southeast and the mountain snowpack in the Rocky Mountain and Western States.

These numbers truly are encouraging, but we've got a ways to go and need to keep forging ahead: The three primary electricity sources in the U.S. are still coal, natural gas and nuclear power. Renewables account for only 2.5 percent of total electrical capacity.

via Treehugger and the Energy Information Administration

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good article.

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