EIA: 2014 to Be Strongest Year on Record for Renewables in the US
Hold onto your hats, solar fans; 2014 may just shape up to be the best year renewables have ever had in the United States.
Data in the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Monthly Energy Review released on Jan. 28 indicates that when final numbers are in, 2014 will continue an upwards trend in renewable energy production. At this time, data has only been released up to October 2014.
As of October, renewable sources of energy (excluding biomass) generated roughly 4.024 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2014, according to EIA data. Compared to 2012 and 2013’s 10-month totals—3.688 and 3.940 quadrillion Btu respectively—my very rough calculations place 2014’s yearend total at roughly 4.785 quadrillion Btu. This seems about right given renewable energy’s 2013 total of 4.685 quadrillion Btu and the overall rate of increase over the last decade.
If correct, this would be the most energy ever produced by renewable forms of energy in the United States.
Despite declines in renewable energy’s total output in 2007 and 2012 compared to the respective years before, the period between 2004 and 2013 saw an average year-over-year increase in production of roughly 4.81 percent (again, according to my own calculations). Applying that same rate of increase to 2013’s total production puts the estimate for 2014 closer to 4.910 quadrillion Btu.
Previously making up the largest share of renewable energy generation in the United States, hydroelectric power has seen steady declines in output since a high point in 2011 when it accounted for about 66.67 percent of renewable production at roughly 3.103 quadrillion Btu. Geothermal energy production rose slightly in 2013 over 2012, but appears to be scheduled for a modest drop in 2014.
Increasingly utilized solar and wind power installations have been making up for a major part of those declines. Comparing 10-month totals between 2012 and 2014, solar saw an increase in production of about 90.52 percent to settle at roughly 362 trillion Btu. Wind saw a 29.15 percent increase to settle at 1.409 quadrillion Btu.
While many feared that the drop in oil prices since June 2014 would hinder further growth in renewables pending a rebound, the data from the EIA appears to refute that.
In a nutshell, it’s looking like another great year from renewable energy.
To see the EIA report, click here: http://1.usa.gov/1EBGZtH
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.