In the excitement over the news that all new U.S. electricity generation for September 2012 came from wind and solar, as reported in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission statistics, the bigger picture went less noticed.
The cumulative installed electricity generating capacity of wind is now up to 4.43 percent of the U.S. portfolio and, adding solar’s rapidly growing 0.29 percent piece, the two biggest potential renewables resources are at almost five percent (4.72 percent) of U.S. capacity.
Moreover, by adding in hydropower (8.51 percent), biomass (1.25 percent), geothermal (0.31 percent) and waste heat (0.07 percent), renewables now constitute almost fifteen percent (14.86 percent) of U.S. electricity generating capacity.
Gone are the days when advocates for the traditional generation industries could dismiss renewables as playing an insignificant role, particularly since they constitute the bulk of new capacity coming on line.
Two additional notes, one good and one not.