*_SUN DAY CAMPAIGN_*
*(**a campaign for a sustainable energy future**)*
*6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite #340; Takoma Park, MD 20912*
*301-270-6477 x.11 <tel:(301)%20270-6477>*
*Twitter: **Follow **@SunDayCampaign*
*1270-MW WATTS BAR-2 NUCLEAR REACTOR COMES ON LINE*
*BUT RENEWABLES SEIZE THE LEAD*
*IN 2016's RACE FOR NEW U.S. GENERATING CAPACITY*
*For Release: Wednesday - December 7, 2016*
*Contact: Ken Bossong, 301-270-6477 <tel:(301)%20270-6477> x.11 *
*Washington DC*– According to the latest issue of the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission's (FERC) monthly "Energy Infrastructure Update"
(with data through October 31, 2016), renewable energy now accounts for
the largest share of new U.S. electrical generation put into service
thus far in 2016.
Combined, newly installed capacity from renewable sources (i.e.,
biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) totals 8,267 MW for the
first ten months of the year, or 47.5% of the total (17,418 MW).
By comparison, fossil fuels (i.e., coal, natural gas, oil) account for
7,866 MW, or 45.2%, with the bulk of that -- 7,788 MW -- coming from
natural gas. And with the start-up of the Tennessee Valley Authority's
new Watts Bar-2 reactor, nuclear power has added 1,270 MW, or 7.3%. **
Notably, while the 1,270-MW Watts Bar-2 is the nation's first new
nuclear power reactor since 1996, new capacity from solar, wind,
biomass, and hydropower in the */single month/* of October alone (1,088
MW) nearly matched what it took the nuclear industry over 20 years to
Moreover, year-to-date, new wind generating capacity totals 2,972 MW --
more than double that of Watts Bar-2 while new solar generating capacity
(4,960 MW) is nearly four times that of Watts Bar-2. There are also
257-MW of new hydropower capacity and 78-MW of new biomass capacity but
no new geothermal steam capacity thus far in 2016.
Five years ago, renewable sources cumulatively accounted for 14.12% of
total available installed generating capacity; now they provide 18.58%:
hydropower - 8.52%, wind- 6.54%, solar - 1.78%, biomass - 1.41%, and
geothermal - 0.33%. Each of the non-hydro renewables has grown during
the past half-decade with solar's share nearly twelve times greater
today than in 2011.
By comparison, oil is now only 3.82%, nuclear power is 9.18%, and coal
is 24.87% -- shares of the total that are all lower than five years ago
(4.62%, 9.45%, and 29.97% respectively). Only natural gas has
experienced modest growth and that is from 41.67% in 2011 to 43.39% today.
"FERC's latest data again make clear that nuclear power -- as well as
oil and coal -- have lost the race with renewable energy sources," noted
Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. "Natural gas
may still be in the running but even it is slipping under the combined
weight of solar, wind, and other renewables."
# # # # # # #
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released its most recent 6-page
"Energy Infrastructure Update," with data for October 2016, on December
6, 2016. See the tables titled "New Generation In-Service (New Build and
Expansion)" and "Total Available Installed Generating Capacity" at:
** Note that generating capacity is not the same as actual generation.
Electrical production per MW of available capacity (i.e., capacity
factor) for renewables is often lower than that for fossil fuels and
nuclear power. As noted, the total installed operating generating
capacity provided by renewables in 2016 is about 18.6% of the nation's
total whereas actual electrical generation from renewables year-to-date
(according to the latest U.S. Energy Information Administration figures)
is roughly 15.1%; however, both of these figures understate renewables'
actual contribution because neither EIA nor FERC fully accounts for all
electricity generated by smaller-scale, distributed renewable energy
The SUN DAY Campaign is a non-profit research and educational
organization founded in 1992 to aggressively promote sustainable energy
technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil
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