Based on the latest data released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) renewable power sources like solar and wind augmented the generating capacity of the United States by a great deal throughout the first six months of this year.
According to the monthly Energy Infrastructure Update which includes information up to June 30th, around 17,017 megawatts of new generating capacity recorded in the first semester of the year were about 34.48% from solar generation facilities and 16.6% from wind farms.
In addition to the progress shown by the solar and wind generation sectors, the FERC report also noted that hydropower, geothermal energy, and biomass generation contributed a total of 328 megawatts to the renewable power mix. The remainder of the new generation capacity for H1-2023 came from natural gas which contributed 47.16%, as well as new oil capacity and waste heat.
A Growing Share of the Pie
The solar capacity shown from January to June is the largest that the Commission has recorded in recent years. Indeed, utility-grade solar power now accounts for about 6.97% of the US’ total installed generating capacity. Wind-generated power, on the other hand, now accounts for around 11.62%.
This brings the total generation share of the renewables sector to around 28.06%, much farther along than the 20.67 recorded five years ago as renewables are growing their share of the total generating capacity by around 1.5% per annum – a rate that is expected to accelerate in the next several years.
For now, FERC is expecting the solar power sector to add 81,282 megawatts within the next three years. Wind, on the other hand, could expand its capacity by up to 19,734 megawatts. In which case, these two sources alone would account for more than a quarter of the country’s total generating capacity.
Taking other sources of renewable power into consideration, the total contribution of renewables to the US’ installed generating capacity could grow to be as high as 33.99% by mid-2026.