According to a data recently released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Energy Information Administration, wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources contributed 81.07% of new domestic electrical production capacity in 2021.
According to the latest edition of energy Infrastructure Update of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, utility scale with above 1 MW of renewable facilities added 23,639 MW of new production capacity last year, with wind and solar accounting for 10,754 MW and 12, 804 MW respectively. This also included small contributions of 28 MW by hydropower, 25 MW by geothermal, and 28 MW by biomass. The numbers are preparatory and based on the pattern observed in past years, which are likely to increase in subsequent records.
Meanwhile, in EIA’s latest release, ‘Short-Term Energy Outlook’, it reports that the U.S. electric power sector increased wind capacity by 14,000 MW and 13,000 MW of solar capacity of solar scale in 2021. The small-scale distribution of solar energy grew by approximately 5,100 MW last year, further notes the EIA.
From this it is inferred, utility-scale renewables and distributed solar roughly on average provided 2,400 MW or greater new generating capacity each month in 2021. For understanding purpose, this is greater than the estimated generating capacity of 2,200 MW of the two reactors at Vogtle nuclear plant, Georgia. The plant has been under construction since 2013 and there is no certain completion date. The more modest numbers estimated by FERC indicate that new renewable capacity in 2021 was four times more than that of natural gas. Nuclear capacity added in 2021 is zero while new coal and oil capacity increased by 11 MW and 19 MW respectively.