Yes folks renewable energy is making great strides and while it may not be the kind of forward movement some one like it has for the first time shown the largest increase in US electrical capacity. These figures come from the newly released Electric Power Industry 2007: Year in Review report.
In 2007, for the first time, renewable energy sources, other than conventional hydroelectric capacity, accounted for the largest portion of capacity additions. Total net summer capacity increased 8,673 MW in 2007. Wind capacity accounted for 5,186 MW of this new capacity. Natural gas-fired generation accounted for 4,582 MW. Two new coal-fired plants with summer capacity totaling 1,354 MW were placed in service in 2007. However, retirements and downward adjustments to existing capacity resulted in a 217 MW net reduction in coal-fired capacity.
While some might be getting all exuberant over the figures and suggest we are seeing a paradigm shift I think they need to take a step back and realize that creating renewable energy isn't the same thing as getting it to market. One of the biggest problems facing the renewable energy proponents is the getting the energy from all those wind farms and other such solar energy farms to where it is needed. This is the problem that is facing California with it's push into renewable energy – no-one wants the required transmission lines going through their backyards.
Until we get over this not in my backyard attitude or come up with a better way to get all this energy to where it needs to go we can build all the wind farms we want and create all the solar capabilities we want but it won't do one bit of good.
[pic courtesy of Edison International]