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  • Monday, August 27, 2012


    Natural gas, renewables dominate electric capacity additions in first half of 2012

    August 20, 2012 (Energy Information Administration)

    “During the first half of 2012, 165 new electric power generators were added in 33 states, for a total of 8,098 megawatts (MW) of new capacity. [A total of 3,092 MW was retired, from 58 generators in 17 states.] Of the ten states with the highest levels of capacity additions, most of the new capacity uses natural gas or renewable energy sources. Capacity additions in these ten states total 6,500 MW, or 80% of the new capacity added nationally in the first six months of 2012.

    “Most of the new generators built over the past 15 years are powered by natural gas or wind. In 2012, the addition of natural gas and renewable generators comes at a time when natural gas and renewable generation are contributing increasing amounts to total generation across much of the United States. In particular, efficient combined-cycle natural gas generators are competitive with coal generators over a large swath of the country…Only one coal-fired generator was brought online in the first half of 2012…”

    “…[O]f the 165 generators added, 105 were under 25 MW. Many of these use renewable energy sources, most commonly solar and landfill gas…2012 has also seen a significant number of new peaking generators, the combustion turbines and internal combustion engines that operate when electric demand is at its highest, which also tend to be on the small side. These technologies are usually fueled by natural gas or petroleum, but can also burn landfill gas…

    “Solar has shown significant growth in the electric power sector over the past two years. From the beginning of 2010 to the end of June 2012, 1,308 MW of new utility-scale solar capacity has come online, more than tripling the 619 MW in place at the end of 2009…[and] these additions understate actual solar capacity gains…[because] significant levels of solar capacity exist in smaller, non-utility-scale applications (e.g., rooftop solar photovoltaics)…”


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