Report: US solar, wind capacity shatters prior projections - Smart Energy Decisions

Solar, Wind  -  October 3, 2017

Report: US solar, wind capacity shatters EIA estimates

A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council shows that in 2016, the country's solar energy capacity came in 4,500% higher than predicted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration in 2006. 

As for wind, U.S. supply was 350% above what the EIA projected a decade earlier, according to the NRDC. The report, "America's Clean Energy Revolution," is the group's fifth annual, and confirms the significant shift underway across the U.S. energy landscape. 

"America's clean energy revolution proves that we don't have to choose between the environment and a booming economy," Amanda Levin, report co-author and NRDC clean energy advocate, said in a statement. "Clean energy not only cuts pollution, it's also one of the fast-growing areas for U.S. jobs and contributes billions to our nation’s economy annually."

The NRDC report shows the EIA in 2006:

  • Misjudged the huge increases in solar power, forecasting less than 1 GW of installed solar by 2016 when the total was 46 times that amount, and no more than 18 GW of wind power, when it reached 82 GW, a nearly five-fold increase.
  • Overestimated the 2016 level of carbon dioxide pollution, which at 5.17 billion tons was 25 percent, or 1.67 billion tons, lower than forecast.
  • Misread the rise of energy efficiency, which contributed to keeping U.S. energy consumption at 96.5 quads of energy, 17 percent below EIA's projection of 115.6 quads.
  • Did not anticipate the demise of coal-fired power, which dropped 45% from the projected level of 2,235 terawatt hours to 1,240 TWh.

The full report is available on the international nonprofit's website

Keywords: eia, NRDC

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