REPORT: Majority of new power added to U.S. grids in 2015 was renewable
A new report reveals that renewable energy accounted for the majority of new power added to U.S. grids in 2015, marking the second consecutive year that clean energy has topped fossil fuels. The clean energy revolution is quickly taking shape.
The report, Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Business Council for Sustainable energy shows that solar and wind power accounted for 68 percent of new capacity in 2015, with natural gas on pace to overtake coal as the biggest power source.
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"2015 clearly marked a turning point for American energy," said Ethan Zindler, who leads the Americas division for BNEF.
"We have entered a new era here in the United States."
Leading the way in renewable sources was wind, with 8.5 gigawatts of new electrical generation installed, and solar added 7.3 gigawatts of new generating capacity. The growth in solar was a 13 percent increase from 2014, according to the report.
Last year saw U.S. investment in clean energy reach $56 billion, the second highest level in the world, while carbon emissions fell to their lowest annual level since 1995.
“This is a long-term trend,” said Colleen Regan, a BNEF analyst who follows North American power markets. “System costs have really come down for renewables, which makes the case for installing them a lot stronger.”
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.