U.S. power grid records largest gain since 2011


The amount of generating capacity on the U.S. power grid grew last year by its largest amount since 2011, the U.S. Energy Information Agency reported Monday. 

The agency reported that more than 60 percent of the increase came from wind turbines and solar panel installations, with another 33 percent coming from natural gas plants.

Close to 27 gigawatts of total capacity were added, which when combined with 12 gigawatts worth of capacity retirements resulted in a net gain of nearly 15 gigawatts – compared to a net loss of 4 gigawatts in 2015.

A net gain of 15 gigawatts works out approximately to a 1 percent increase in the total capacity of the U.S. grid.

“Large amounts of new utility-scale wind capacity started entering the market in 2007 and have since averaged 7 GW per year, despite occasional lapses in available tax credits,” the report reads. “About 7.7 GW of utility-scale solar was added in 2016—the most ever. The amount of utility-scale solar capacity added in 2016 alone was greater than all utility-scale solar that had been added through 2013.”