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Renewables Make Up More than One-Third of U.S. New Energy Growth: Environmentalists Want More

Renewable energy accounts for 16% of US energy capacity, and is growing faster than any other energy source, according to a recent government energy report.

According to the latest Energy Infrastructure Report released by the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects,  renewable energy sources—including geothermal, hydropower, wind and solar—accounted for a hefty 37% of U.S. energy growth in 2013.


Renewable energy that came online last year added up to 5,279 megawatts, meaning that renewables now make up almost 16% of total installed and operating generating capacity in the United States.


Growth was highest in the solar power sector, with 2,936 megawatts of new generating capacity coming online; this change reflects a surge of almost 43% more solar power usage than in 2012. Wind came in second with 1,129 new megawatts generated.


To the distaste of environmental activists, the energy sector also saw marked growth in fossil fuel production last year. In particular, new natural gas production soared at 7,270 megawatts.


In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama defended his so-called “all of the above” energy policy: “The ‘all the above’ energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working… One of the reasons why is natural gas. If extracted safely, it’s the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change.”


The Climate Group, a nonprofit organization advocating for a low carbon future, begs to differ. Amy Davidsen, U.S. executive director commented, “The President’s remarks point to the fact that natural gas will only get us so far in terms of the significant emissions cuts that need to occur in the coming years.” She added, “the President’s Climate Action Plan is an important start, but we also need to work towards long-term solutions that will lead to net zero emissions by 2050.”