17% Increase in Half-Year US Clean Power Installation for Nearly 10GW Added

The US installed 9.915 GW of wind, utility-scale solar, and battery storage capacity in the first half of 2021.

The American Clean Power (ACP) Association shows that second-quarter installations rose by 13% on the year after 5,620 MW of capacity was put on stream. The country added 2,226 MW of solar, 2,824 MW of wind, and 570 MW of battery storage capacity, marking quarter-on-quarter increases in each segment. The highest growth was registered for battery storage installations, which is up 439% sequentially.

The top five states for second-quarter additions include Texas (1,489 MW), California (585 MW), Michigan (424 MW), Florida (373 MW) and Kansas (301MW).

In total, there are now over 180,216 MW of clean power capacity operating in the U.S, enough to power over 50 million homes across the country and more than double the U.S. capacity just five years ago. This growth will continue, at the end of the second quarter there were 906 projects totaling over 101,897 MW of clean power capacity under construction (37,725 MW) or in advanced development (64,172 MW) across the U.S.

SOURCES – American Clean Power (ACP) Association
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

18 thoughts on “17% Increase in Half-Year US Clean Power Installation for Nearly 10GW Added”

  1. Now that renewables are reigning over 90% of new installations, there is no longer any need to create policies to encourage closing of older fossil fuel installations.

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  2. That's not how grids work, John. There's a finite demand for electricity at any given time. Utilities prefer to use the lowest cost sources to fill that demand. Since wind and solar don't use fuel, they are often the lowest cost. Coal has fallen from 50 to 20% of US power over the last 15 years. Two thirds of that decline was due to natural gas. Fracking made it cheaper, so utilities switched. The other third was wind and solar, which became cheaper in that order. The only reason coal isn't entirely gone yet is it takes time and money to replace half the country's power plants.

    Since wind and solar are still getting cheaper, they will start eating into natural gas' share once all the coal is gone. This graph show year by year installations, so you can see the shift happening:

    https://www.seia.org/sites/default/files/inline-images/SMI-2021-Q2-ES-Fig1.png

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  3. The real carbon debt for a windfarm carries on building up after it's been built- if they average a ~40% capacity factor, that's 60% left for gas or coal to cover. In reality, it would be worse – closed cycle gas turbines are much more efficient, but not at partial load, and they can't start up straight from cold. Open cycle gas turbines, which are used for fast ramp-up, make about 600 grams CO2/kwh, versus 400 for closed cycle.
    Critics of nuclear complain that the worst emissions caused by nuclear plants are from all the fossil fuels burnt in the ten years or more thay take to build. They ignore the fossils used to cover the generation gaps left by their favoured technologies, and the short lifespans of wind and solar. About the time the reactor has started another thirty years of debt-free operation, the wind farms and solar panels will all need replacing.

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  4. Wind towers cost around $1300 per kW of capacity. If they earn on average 7cents/kWhr, that'd require 18600 hours of power production to break even on build cost.

    The average capacity factor for projects built 2014 to 2017 was 42%, so the wind tower will need to be in operation 18600 /0.42 = 44200 hours to break even. About 5 years. Average lifespan of wind towers is about 20 years.

    Of course, this leaves out important factors like subsidies, operating costs, lawsuits, end of life costs, etc.

    So it's likely that wind towers will pay for themselves, though they may not be spectacular investments.

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  5. As best as I can tell the 'Learning Curve' for Solar power – Utility or Residential – is around 20%. Which is the amount that each doubling of production lowers the coust of a 'unit'.

    This is very good news for companies, consumers and the environment.

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  6. Economics will take care of it. There's no harm keeping a few coal plants around as backup for unusual weather, but if they get used less than 5% of the time, the plant owners themselves will close them once they can't make a profit. This has already happened to a lot of coal plants. Natural gas plants will eventually suffer the same fate.

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  7. For reference, total US installed capacity is about 1100 GW, and average demand is 470 GW. No power plant runs 100% of the time, not even nuclear (93%). So to have a reliable grid we build enough extra capacity to handle peak demand, plus a reserve for whatever plants are not able to produce at a given moment.

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  8. The more all of the above gets implemented, the faster it’ll all avalanche into even more installed capacity, quickly stomping out other more expensive energy schemes. No one here can deny the reason for all of this investment…GLOBALLY…is this is where investors see a good return. It’s working quite well, detractors can moan all they want.

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  9. Now that renewables are reigning on over 90% of new installations, it is time to create policies that encourage closing of older fossil installations, just like Obama did, especially coal, to have them replaced with even more renewables. Of course more storage and HVDC lines will be needed to ensure a smooth accelerated transition.

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  10. Oh gee, that’s great… Now I know why my power bill went up 17%…

    Note: A windmill will never pay for itself in it’s serviceable lifetime…

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  11. A natural gas generator has 20% of the cost upfront and 80% cost (fuel and maintenance) over the life of the plant.

    Green energy like onshore wind is 75% upfront and 25% over time. Along with a huge carbon debt that must be worked off for the first decade.

    The implications for electric utilities are enormous.

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