Half of US utility-scale generation capacity installed in 2017 came from wind, solar

graph of utility-scale capacity additions and utility-scale renewable capacity additions, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860M, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory

In early spring, California’s total solar share of electricity demand exceeded 50% during mid-day hours

Once final data are in, EIA expects about 25 gigawatts (GW) of new utility-scale electric generating capacity to have been added to the power grid during 2017, nearly half of which use renewable technologies, especially wind and solar, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration

Another 3.5 GW of small-scale solar net capacity additions are estimated to have come online in 2017.

Of the renewable capacity additions in 2017, more than half came online during the fourth quarter. Renewable capacity additions are often highest in the final months of the year, in part because of timing qualifications for federal, state, or local tax incentives.

Estimated fourth-quarter capacity additions for 2017 are based on planned additions reported to EIA and are subject to change based on actual project completions.

Monthly U.S. renewable electricity generation peaked in March at 67.5 billion kilowatthours, or 21 per cent of total utility-scale electricity generation.

In late spring, the melting snowpack from a winter characterized by higher-than-average levels of precipitation increased hydroelectric generation, while strong wind resources in March also produced a peak in monthly wind generation for the year.

Most renewable generation in 2017 came from the Western census division, which accounted for the majority of the hydroelectric (67 per cent) and solar (69 per cent) generation.

Wind generation was more evenly spread across the country in 2017, with 37 per cent occurring in the Midwest, 37 per cent in the South, 21 per cent in the West, and the remaining 4 per cent in the Northeast.

graph of monthly renewable electricity generation by census region, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly

Other renewable electricity highlights in 2017

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