Wind and Solar 77% of New U.S. electricity generation in November 2014

And more new capacity year to date than natural gas in 2014, according to FERC’s own numbers, despite FERC betting on the wrong horse.

Joshua S. Hill, CleanTechnica, 23 November 2014, Wind & Solar = 77% Of New US Electricity Generating Capacity In November (Exclusive),

The United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Office of Energy Projects released its monthly “Energy Infrastructure Update” on Tuesday, and the big winners from the month of November seem to be wind and solar, which combined added up to over 70% of all new electrical generating capacity placed into service during the month. If you add in our estimate for non-utility-scale solar, the market share of solar and wind rises to 77%.

Hill misinterprets his own next figure, which actually shows that wind and solar new deployment combined, adding up to 6,204 megawatts, exceeds natural gas at 5,513.

Note FERC’s actual Office of Energy Projects Energy Infrastructure Update For November 2014 pushes natural gas, including:

  • Transco requests authorization to construct and operate its Hillabee Expansion Project which will provide 1,131.7 MMcf/d of capacity from Transco’s existing system in Choctaw County, AL to the proposed Sabil Trail pipeline in Tallapoosa County, AL.
  • Sabal Trail requests authorization to construct and operate its Sabal Trail Project which will provide 1,075 MMcf/d of capacity from Tallapoosa County, AL to the proposed Florida Southeast Connection in Osceola County, FL.

Note the wording “will connect”, not “will connect if permitted” or “would connect” or “is planned to connect”. Could FERC make it any more obvious that FERC is a rubberstamp machine?

Which makes the ascendancy of solar even more impressive, as documented by FERC’s own figures. For October, even without the rooftop solar which FERC doesn’t bother to include, Solar 31 MW + wind 574 MW = 605 MW, far more than natural gas 132 MW and solar+wind is 68% of new installed capacity for October 2014.

For September among the natural gas project FERC was pushing were:

  • Dominion Cove Point received authorization to construct and operate an LNG export terminal (825 MMcf/d) at Cove Point’s existing import terminal in Calvert County, MD, and pipeline facilities to provide 860 MMcf/d of capacity on Cove Point’s existing pipeline to serve the proposed terminal.
  • Florida Southeast requested authorization to construct and operate its Florida Southeast Connection Project. This project will provide 640 MMcf/d of capacity from the proposed Sabil Trail pipeline near Intercession City, FL, to a delivery point with Florida Power & Light near Indiantown, FL

Yet the actual numbers FERC shows for new generation include wind 367 MW + solar 41 MW = 408 MW which is far more than natural gas 114 MW and 67% of total new capacity for September 2014.

Sure, it’s not like that every month; more natural gas was deployed in August. But that’s three months in a row, September, October, November 2014, when wind and solar exceeded natural gas for new deployments, and same cumulative for year to date. Because gas requires pipelines, which are slow and very expensive, while wind and solar projects are fast, inexpensive, and far less damaging to environment or property rights, and need no pipelines because they use no fuel.

You’re betting on the wrong horse, FERC.

-jsq

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