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US adds some biomass, solar capacity in May, natural gas brings 85%

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US adds some biomass, solar capacity in May, natural gas brings 85%


July 9 (Solar) – A 50-MW biomass plant and 312 MW of large solar photovoltaic (PV) parks came online in the US in May, while large wind remained at zero megawatts.

With 2,087 MW of new capacity in service, natural gas-fired power plants accounted for 85% of all new capacity for the month. Their share was lower, at 62%, in the first five months of the year, but still natural gas remains the main source of new power in the US this year.

The biomass plant that started operations is located in Honolulu Hawaii. It is called the Schofield Generating Station and is operated by Hawaiian Electric.

The biggest of the solar farms that came into service in May is Vista Energy’s 180-MW Luminant Castle Gap Project in Texas.

No new large-scale wind capacity has been recorded for two months in a row, but the cumulative capacity, currently standing at 91 GW in the US, is seen to double by mid-2021, as shown in the table. It contains details on new and cumulative capacity by source, and proposed additions and retirements by June 2021.

New capacity in-service (MW) 5-mo 2018 5-mo 2017 Cumulative Additions by June 2021 Retirements by June 2021
Wind 1,956 3,532 90,950 91,049 68
Solar 1,921 2,166 32,920 52,218 2
Biomass 66 167 16,520 705 50
Geothermal 21 18 3,850 1,115 0
Water 22 16 100,800 12,558 544
Natural gas 6,646 7,970 515,470 85,686 14,589
Nuclear 4 102 108,180 6,363 5,607
Coal 0 0 273,300 912 16,810
Oil 11 21 42,040 744 482
TOTAL 10,732 14,213 1,186,160 252,126 38,152

The full FERC report is available at https://www.ferc.gov/legal/staff-reports/2018/may-energy-infrastructure.pdf.


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