Renewables Topple Natural Gas in New Capacity in U.S.
Contrary to all the hype behind the US' natural gas boom, renewables actually reign when it comes to new electrical capacity coming online. Nearly half, or 46.22 percent, of all new electrical generating capacity added in the country this year came from renewables, while natural gas accounted for 37.8 percent.
What's more is that the new capacity added this year is 47.7 percent more than last year, according to FERC's “Energy Infrastructure Update.” Almost 15 percent of the nation's supply now comes from renewables. Nuclear accounts for almost ten percent, oil accounts for less than five percent and coal accounts for just above 15 percent.
Although most of the renewable energy in the US comes from hydro, wind, biomass, geothermal and solar are starting to make a significant dent in the supply. Solar is increasing at a rapid rate, up by 133.3 percent this year, and wind steadily grew by 17.7 percent. However, there were more much wind projects this year (5,403 MW) compared to solar (1,032 MW).
"These additions understate actual solar capacity gains. Unlike other energy sources, significant levels of solar capacity exist in smaller, non-utility-scale applications - e.g., rooftop solar photovoltaics," says EIA.
Natural gas accounted for 37.8 percent of new capacity in addition to 3 new coal plants (15.1 percent of new capacity). Nuclear, petroleum liquids, petroleum coke and traditional hydro all saw drops in new capacity.
Including hydro, renewables supplied about 25% of the world's electricity in 2011, vindicating the investments made in clean energy technologies.
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.