Renewable energy was nearly half of new U.S. generation in 2012

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According to the latest energy infrastructure update report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Office of Energy Projects, renewable energy sources — biomass, geothermal, solar, hydropower and wind — accounted for 41.14 percent of new electrical generating capacity installed in October 2012 and 46.22 percent for the first ten months of 2012.

In October, 10 new wind power projects (594 MW) came online as well as three biomass projects (69 MW), 10 solar projects (59 MW) and one hydropower project (5 MW).

During the first 10 months of 2012, 92 wind projects (5,403 MW), 167 solar projects (1,032 MW), 79 biomass projects (409 MW), seven geothermal projects (123 MW), and nine hydropower projects (12 MW) have come online. Collectively, these total 6,979 MW or 46.22 percent of all new generating capacity added since the beginning of the year.

By comparison, new natural gas capacity additions since Jan. 1, 2012 totaled 67 projects (5,702 MW), or 37.8 percent, while three new coal projects added 2,276 MW (15.1 percent). Nuclear and oil represented just 0.8 percent and 0.1 percent of new capacity additions, respectively.

The new renewable energy generating capacity added in 2012 represents a 47.7 percent increase over the level recorded for the same period in 2011, according to FERC. Renewable sources now account for 14.93 percent of total installed U.S. operating generating capacity.

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