FERC Update Shows U.S. Renewables Growing 10 Times Faster Than Fossil Electricity by 2022
A new three-year projection from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), showing renewable energy growing 10 times faster than fossil-generated electricity by 2022, is being taken as official confirmation that the country’s shift to clean power is here to stay.
The data comes from FERC’s Energy Infrastructure Update for May, issued earlier this month. The SUN DAY Campaign first spotted what it called the “drastically revised” projection from FERC’s April update. It showed new renewables capacity growing more than 10% in 2022, compared to about 1% for fossils, and double the 5% increase in the April forecast.
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“While earlier FERC data had documented this general trend, the latest numbers are particularly noteworthy because they reflect dramatic changes in FERC’s projections in just a few weeks’ time,” SUN DAY said in a release.
“The FERC three-year forecast of U.S. electrical generating mix is an affirmation that the clean energy transition is under way,” agreed World Resources Institute (WRI) Senior Associate Devashree Saha. Utility Dive cites a July 8 web post in which Saha “highlighted the growing number of state rejections of utility plans to replace coal generation with natural gas amid falling renewable energy prices and climate concerns.”
FERC Media Relations Director Mary O’Driscoll replied that “the generation additions/retirements section of the monthly report is NOT a forecast or prediction of Commission expectations,” explaining that the estimates came from outside sources: Velocity Suite, ABB Inc., and The C Three Group.
The report showed the lost momentum for fossils tracing back almost entirely to 4.6 gigawatts of expected coal retirements, Utility Dive reports.
“While natural gas generating capacity is projected to increase by 18,158 megawatts (MW), that is almost completely offset by a drop of 17,037 MW in coal’s net generating capacity and a decline of 1,040 MW in oil’s net generating capacity. Further, nuclear power is foreseen as dropping by 7,286 MW,” SUN DAY noted.
“Meanwhile, wind capacity is projected to grow by 26,889 MW and utility-scale solar by 16,302 MW. The other renewable sources would also increase: hydropower by 1,383 MW, biomass by 328 MW, and geothermal by 280 MW. Collectively, they would add 45,182 MW over the next three years.”