Renewable Power Generation in U.S. Cheaper Than Coal, Gas

Windmills - 78% of New Power Generation in January 2013
Windmills – 78% of New Power Generation in January 2013

The renewable power generation added to the U.S. grid in January 2013 has been found to be less expensive than fossil fuels.

The demand for electricity is generally and consistently on the rise, and there are three ways to combat it. First, changing the way we use electricity has a big impact, not only on our overall consumption, but on peak power usage as well.

Second, the efficiency of electrical and electronic devices in the home is continually being improved. Finally, of course, we can install new power-generation facilities.

In January 2013, 1,231MW of new power generation was added to the US power grid. While the generally accepted theory used to be that renewable power generation was more expensive than fossil fuels, it’s been found to be completely opposite.

Not only are renewable energy sources becoming cheaper, there is significant pressure on power companies to reduce their carbon emissions, both from the government and the general population. In January, of the 1,231MW of new power-generating installations, 100% of it was renewable.

The United States is still fairly fossil fuel heavy, 84.34% in fact, but renewables are gaining a foothold. The 1,231MW added this January alone makes for a total of 181,592MW renewable energy here in the US. The total renewable power generation capacity in the US is 1,159,590MW, so renewables have a way to go before they can completely replace fossil fuels and nuclear, but 15.66% is a good start.

Wind power accounted for 78% of new power generation in January 2013, 958MW, and solar power accounted for the other 22%, 267MW. In contrast, new renewable power generation for January 2012 only accounted for 25% of new facilities.



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  • Your article shows that renewables are finally starting to gain a foothold in the US. We are far behind European and Asian countries by percentage. President Obama’s policies are beginning to make a difference in regards to the adoption of renewable energy. The tax credits, research funding, and also the price reductions of photovoltaic panels have contributed to the increased usage. Hopefully this will continue into the future.

    • bnjroo

      @Richard Fenneman Solar power is still a little expensive, and wind power is already cheaper than most fossil fuels. Renewable-fuel prices are dropping all the time and efficiency is constantly on the rise. Given time, I’m sure the US can become a leader in clean power generation. It’s been slow, but steady.