As renewable energy strives to become more competitive with traditional sources, success is measured in a variety of ways. By one of these measures, wind power is coming on strong. According to a recent analysis by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, wind power accounted for most of the new generating capacity installed in the United States in October 2014.
Specifically, wind power accounted for 574 megawatts (MW) of new installed capacity. That number represents roughly 68 percent of the 839 MW total. During October, no other power source, renewable or otherwise, came close. At about 16 percent, natural gas accounted for 132 MW of new capacity installed, and, at 12 percent, biomass accounted for 102 MW. Solar contributed about 4 percent of new installed capacity.
The report highlights several big projects that helped wind power collectively achieve such impressive numbers. These include the 201-MW Limon Wind Energy Center Phase II Expansion project in Lincoln County, Colo.; the 129-MW Nemaha Wind Farm project in Nemaha County, Kan.; the 105-MW Cross Winds Energy Park project in Tuscola County, Mich.; the 75-MW Broken Bow Wind Expansion project in Custer County, Neb.; and the 69-MW Windthorst II Wind project in Archer County, Texas.
While wind power may have achieved some impressive monthly results for new installed capacity, it has a long way to go to compete with the powerhouses of energy generation in the United States. According to the same report, wind energy now boasts 62.78 gigawatts (GW) of total operating capacity. That is only 5.3 percent of the 1,165.60 GW total. Meanwhile, natural gas accounts for 490.59 GW, and coal accounts for 328.31 GW of operating capacity.