The United States will see twice as much net additional electrical generation from solar and wind as from natural gas this year, its Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports, with solar leading all types of new power for the first time ever.
Solar will account for 9.5 gigawatts of “scheduled electric generation capacity additions in 2016,” the agency says. The measure is the net combination of new and retired capacity during the year. “If actual additions ultimately reflect these plans,” it adds, “2016 will be the first year in which utility-scale solar additions exceed additions from any other single energy source.”
Natural gas capacity will grow by 8.0 GW, and wind by 6.8 GW. Together, the leading renewables will account for 16.3 GW of additional generation in the U.S., twice the leading fossil fuel and far ahead of relatively negligible contributions from nuclear (1.1 GW) and hydro (0.3 GW). The agency expects no new coal or oil generation to come online during the year ahead.