Renewables overtake fossil fuels in US

Renewable energy was the biggest source of new power added to the electricity grids in the US last year. That’s according to a new report, which revealed developers installed 16GW […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Renewable energy was the biggest source of new power added to the electricity grids in the US last year.

That’s according to a new report, which revealed developers installed 16GW – or 68% – of clean energy in 2015.

It was the second consecutive year renewable energy overtook fossil fuels, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) states.

The biggest growth came from wind farms, with 8.5GW of new turbines installed.

Investment in clean energy rose $56 billion (£38.6bn) last year, a 7.5% increase from 2014.

The majority – $30.2 billion (£20.8bn) – was invested in solar, $11.6 billion (£8bn) went to wind energy and $11.1 billion (£7.7bn) for technologies to improve grids, boost efficiency and develop storage systems.

Energy efficiency “continued to rise” and since 2007, demand for energy has dropped 2.4%, the report adds.

Gas-fired power plants accounted for 25% of the capacity added to the grids and a “record” number of coal plants were shut. Around 11GW came offline by the end of October and 3GW of capacity was expected to close in November and December.

The report adds: “The already rapid decarbonisation of the US power sector accelerated with record numbers of coal plant closures and solar photovoltaic system commissionings, while natural gas production and consumption hit an all-time high. Concurrently, the US continued to enjoy greater benefits from energy efficiency efforts as economic growth outpaced the growth in electricity consumption.”

The Energy Information Administration estimates renewable generation to grow 9% in the US this year.