Disclaimer. After nearly 40 years managing money for some of the largest life offices and investment managers in the world, I think I have something to offer. These days I'm retired, and I can't by law give you advice. While I do make mistakes, I try hard to do my analysis thoroughly, and to make sure my data are correct (old habits die hard!) Also, don't ask me why I called it "Volewica". It's too late, now.

BTW, clicking on most charts will produce the original-sized, i.e., bigger version.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Renewables now 18% of US generation

The percentage of electricity generated from renewable sources (including hydro) in the USA has risen from 9% in 2008 to 18% in 2017.   Though electricity generated from renewables increased 14% in 2017, this was a larger than normal increase because rain in the west replenished empty hydro reservoirs, so generation from hydro increased 13%.  The longer term growth rate is 7% per annum.  At this rate, it will take 25 years for 100% of electricity to come from renewables. 

For me, the most striking chart from the report is this one:


There have been no new coal power stations built since 2013, and the chart shows gross additions to capacity, not net.  Coal power stations have been closed.  Most new capacity is now in renewables, and the rest is in gas.  Renewables and gas go well together, because generation from gas can be dialled up or down quickly to compensate for fluctuations in the output of renewables, and in the USA, because of fracking, gas is cheap.  (Remember, that while gas generators may have capacity factors of 60% plus, the capacity factors for wind and solar are half that.)  Wind and solar are already cheaper than gas, even in the USA, where gas is cheaper than in the rest of the world.  As the cost of storage falls, gas will be replaced by renewables, just as coal has been. 

[Read more here]

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