Renewables Generation Grows as Fossil Fuel Declines

According to data released each month by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), there is good news for electrical contractors involved in utility-scale renewables projects, especially wind and solar. According to FERC, the anticipated growth rate of utility-scale renewables generation continues to increase, while the anticipated growth rate of utility-scale fossil fuel generation continues to decrease.

In monthly Energy Infrastructure Updates, FERC estimates the megawatts (MW) of energy that will be added or retired in a variety of categories in the next three years.

In January, FERC’s estimates for high probability additions for utility-scale fossil fuel generation were 17 MW of new coal, 31,467 MW of new natural gas and 37 MW of new oil.

The latest data available was released this month in the May report. In it, estimates for high probability additions for utility-scale fossil fuel generation had fallen or stayed the same in all three categories. For new coal, high probability additions stayed the same at 17 MW but fell 3,204 MW for new natural gas and 12 MW for new oil.

In the same time period, FERC’s estimates for utility-scale fossil fuel generation for the next three years increased in all but the oil category. In May, the commission’s estimates increased 2,195 MW for coal and 63 MW for natural gas, while the estimate for oil retirement decreased 21 MW.

While overall estimates for fossil fuel generation continued to decrease, overall estimates for renewables generation continued to increase:

In May, FERC reported a high probability that 25,109 MW of wind and 12,952 solar generation would be added within the next three years. By May, estimates increased by 2,019 MW and 3,351 MW, respectively.

Retirements estimates for utility-scale renewables generation in the next three years grew some. In January, 0 MW of wind and 2 MW of solar were expected to be retired. In May, these numbers were updated to 239 MW of wind and 1 MW of solar.

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