When it comes to new power capacity in the U.S., it’s all about renewables.
Last October, renewable energy accounted for nearly 100 percent of all new generation capacity in the U.S. For the first quarter of 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found that renewable energy sources, primarily wind and solar, made up more than 90 percent of new installed power capacity, with natural gas making up the remainder.
The trend is shown below in a map from Ventyx, ABB’s software arm and a leader in IT/OT convergence and helping utilities integrate renewables into their systems. Wind power projects dominate new capacity under construction, according to the chart, followed by natural gas plants and then solar.
In the case of renewables, however, new generation capacity isn’t necessarily available to the grid. Just a few years ago, the image of all of that planned wind would prompt industry observers to wonder when it would finally be connected to the grid.
But grid connections are coming along, too. In 2013, four major transmission projects were completed, according to the American Wind Energy Association. The four connections can carry about 10,000 megawatts of new wind, and there are another fifteen projects in the advanced stages of development that will carry another 60,000 megawatts by 2018, according to AWEA.
For all of the renewable bright spots on the Ventyx map, the additions still have a long way to go in unseating fossil fuels as the dominant source of energy in the U.S.
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