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Renewables surpass natural gas in new installations in the U.S.

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Renewable energy sources have outstripped natural gas in the race for the highest amount of newly installed electric generation capacity in the U.S. for the first time ever in 2014.

According to the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Office of Energy Projects, solar power, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydro provided 49.81 % (7,663 MW) of new electrical generation connected to the grid, while natural gas accounted for 48.65 % (7,485 MW).

In 2013, natural gas still won the race with 46.44% (7,378 MW) of newly installed capacity while renewables accounted for 43.03 % (6,837 MW).

Wind and solar each contribute a quarter

New wind farms alone accounted for 26.52 % (4,080 MW) of the total new capacity in 2014. Solar power provided 20.40% (3,139 MW). Other renewables achieved much lower installation numbers: biomass 254 MW, hydropower 158 MW, and geothermal 32 MW.

New capacity from renewable energy sources in 2014 is 34 times that from coal, nuclear and oil combined, thus verifying the economic attraction investments in renewables have reached.

But there is still room for further growth. Comparing the cumulated installations of generation capacity renewable energy sources now account for 16.63 % in the U.S. Cumulated generation capacity still is headed by hydro with 8.42 %, followed by wind (5.54 %), biomass (1.38 %), and solar power (0.96 %).

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