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All Electric Generating Capacity Added in January Renewable

This article was reposted with permission from Grist. 

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency which informed us that almost half of all new electricity generating capacity added in the U.S. in 2012 was renewable, has released its data for the month of January. You ready for this?

Here’s how January 2013 compares to January 2012 in terms of new capacity:

Graph by Grist 

Notice anything? Let’s spell it out directly. Here’s how new capacity broke down last January. Brownish sources are fossil fuels. Green are renewable.

Graph by Grist 

And here’s this January.

Graph by Grist 

That’s right: Every single megawatt of new generating capacity added in the U.S. last month was renewable. Every single one.

The full dataset from FERC is here [PDF], outlining the constituent additions: 958 megawatts of wind, 267 of solar, and 6 little megawatts of biomass. In total, 1,231 megawatts of capacity were added in January of this year compared to 1,693 in January 2012. The amount of wind and solar added last month was greater than the amount of coal and natural gas added a year ago.

Experts do not expect this no-new-fossil-fuel-generation trend to continue. Sorry.

keith laurence
3/9/2013 6:58:22 PM

In Louisiana, the Public Service Commission is reviewing a proposal to eliminate net metering. If this proposal is approved, it will virtually destroy the solar industry just as it is getting started in our state. Sometimes, it seems like progress is an unneccessarily uphill struggle when it comes to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. The investment in solar panels that is made by homeowners can reduce their consumption of electricity from the grid just as installing insulation, high efficiency appliances or any other energy conservation measures. Should a resident generate more electricity than they use during the daylight hours, it goes back in to the grid and is sold by the utility to one of their neighbors - at full retail rate! Solar electricity generation in Louisiana is only 0.1% of peak load, hardly a threat to the utilities. Hopefully, there will be enough supporters of net metering who will take the time to contact the Louisiana PSC and voice their concerns. The hearing is scheduled for March 20, 2013. If you are a Louisiana resident or just a supporter of renewable energy, contact the Louisiana Public Service Commision and express your concerns. Their website address is: