Are We Moving Fast Enough Toward Solar-Wind-Water-Geothermal-Biomass?

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Allow me to share with you the finalized data from FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) for U.S. Energy Infrastructure Update for 2013.  Some of the key findings from Office of Energy Projects-Energy Infrastructure Update of U.S. by 2013 from FERC are presented in the two tables below:

U.S. New Generation In-Service Power Capacity During 2013, Data Made Available By FERC

1. U.S. New Generation In-Service (New Build and Expansion), Jan.-Dec. of 2013 Chart: On horizontal axis, 10 top sources of new U.S. power capacity (in 2013) are ranked in terms of Newly Installed Capacity (MW) during 2013, in the order from: 1st being Natural Gas (7,270 MW), 2nd is Solar (2,936 MW), 3rd is Coal (1,543 MW), 4th is Wind (1,129 MW), 5th is Biomass (777 MW), 6th is Water (378 MW), 7th is Waste Heat (76 MW), 8th is Geothermal Steam (59 MW), 9th is Oil (38 MW), 10th is Nuclear (0 MW).

Even though Solar’s rank of 2 is impressive from the above chart, in reality the actual solar power capacity generated during 2013 is much greater than 2,936 MW. If you’d refer to FERC’s key findings from Office of Energy Projects-Energy Infrastructure Update of U.S. by 2013 from FERC , you would realize that the 2,936 MW did not include the distributed solar (rooftop solar power systems) installed in 2013. Various sources indicated that California added more rooftop solar capacity in 2013 than in the past 30 years combined . As the distributed solar will continue to play an increasingly significant role in solar capacity generation, such data needs to be included in the calculation in the future in order to provide a more complete picture.

U.S. Total Installed Operating Generating Capacity (GW) By Dec. of 2013, Data Made Available By FERC

2. U.S. Total Installed Operating Generating Capacity By December of 2013 Chart: On horizontal axis, 10 top sources of total U.S. power capacity by 2013 are ranked in terms of Total Installed Capacity (GW) up to December of 2013, in the order from: 1st being Natural Gas (487.21 GW), 2nd is Coal (333.43 GW), 3rd is Nuclear (107.32 GW), 4th is Water (97.88 GW),  5th is Wiind (60.29 GW), 6th is Oil (47.03 GW), 7th is Biomass (15.74 GW), 8th is Solar (7.42 GW), 9th is Geothermal Steam (3.83 GW), 10th is Waste Heat (1.13 GW).

The second table above reminds us that despite how much renewable energy has grown in U.S., the total installed operating generating capacity from renewable such as solar, water,geothermal, biomass, and wind only add up to about 15% of the total U.S. installed operating generating capacity as of 2013.  Solar only represents 0.64% and wind represents 5.2% of the total U.S. installed operating generating capacity as of 2013.  Renewable Energy is still in its early stage of its evolution. In 2014 solar power is projected to have another year of record growth. To this I say: we surely need it!

Flood at Key Heaven as a result of Hurricane Wilma (Author Marc Averette, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

Flood of Toowoomba (Author Kingbob86, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of my friends, acquaintances, and relatives find it puzzling why I would be so anxious while optimistic about the Solar/Renewable future.  The two tables above truly reflect my state of mind toward current state of affair: optimistic with exponential growth of Solar Capacity (table 1) while anxiously worried about millions of people who will be losing their homes as a result of climate change (this would be the case if Clean and/or Renewable Energy takes up such a small percentage of the overall total power capacity as demonstrated in table 2 above )….we need to move toward Renewable…toward Solar-Wind-Water-Geothermal-Biomass much faster….in order to avoid more of what is likely to come……for millions and millions of people on planet earth…..

Let’s maintain our optimism in moving forward. We need to optimize the most effective incentive policy to drive all Renewables forward…be it Solar-Wind-Water-Geothermal-Biomass….in order to prevent millions and millions of people in becoming homeless in the decades to come…..

~may we all have a bright and sunny day~

Written, gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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