- Utility-scale renewables are expected to supply 14% of U.S. electricity in 2016, with 5.2% from wind energy, 0.8% from utility-scale solar energy and the rest from hydropower and biomass, according to just-released numbers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA).
- This output represents a projected 9% increase in the contributions to U.S. electricity of utility-scale wind and solar installations, according to EIA. An easing of severe drought conditions in some parts of the country will allow hydroelectric power’s share to increase 5% in 2016 while biomass and geothermal remain unchanged.
- The five year extensions of solar’s 30% federal investment tax credit and wind’s $0.023/kWh production tax credit are not expected to significantly impact these projections because the bulk the utility-scale development likely to go online in 2016 was planned before the extensions were enacted, EIA explained.
This Short Term Energy Outlook data does not include behind-the-meter solar, though EIA began incorporating that information last December in its Electric Power Monthly reports. With distributed solar included, solar’s contribution to U.S. 2016 electricity would likely rise to about 1.2% and the total contribution by renewables would be about 14.5%, according to PV Magazine.
In a separate analysis, the recently released “Trends to Watch in Alternative Energy” from the Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions projects that nearly three-quarters of new generation capacity built in 2016 will be with renewables.
Renewables, including biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, and wind, accounted for 63.85% of the 16,485 MW of new U.S. electricity generation that went online in 2015, according to the December "Energy Infrastructure Update" from the FERC Office of Energy Projects.
There were 7,977 MW of new wind energy capacity in 2015, 48.39% of all new U.S. capacity and significantly more than the 5,942 MW of new natural gas generation. Solar was second among the renewables with 2,042 MW.