2014 Renewable Energy Data Book Illustrates an Industry on the Rise

Renewable energy in the U.S. increased in 2014, according to the 2014 Renewable Energy Data Book.

Wind turbines in a rapeseed field.

Washington, DC—The 2014 Renewable Energy Data Book is out. Published annually by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on behalf of the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the data book reveals U.S. and global energy statistics on renewable electricity generation, renewable energy development, clean energy investments, and technology-specific data and trends.

Key insights of the research include:

  • U.S. renewable electricity grew to 15.5 percent of total installed capacity and 13.5 percent of total electricity generation.
  • Solar electricity accounted for more than 48 percent of U.S. renewable electricity capacity installed in 2014. Cumulative installed PV capacity expanded by more than 51 percent (6.2 GWdc); and CSP capacity, driven by a small number of large projects, increased by nearly 84 percent (0.8 GWac).
  • Wind electricity capacity grew 4.8 GW in 2014, a 7.8 percent increase from 2013, to represent 5.7 percent of total U.S. cumulative installed electricity capacity. Wind electricity generation increased by 8.3 percent, while generation from hydropower dropped by 3.7 percent. Nearly 4.8 GW of additional wind capacity was installed in 2014, leading to a total cumulative capacity of nearly 66 GW.
  • U.S. electricity capacities of biomass, geothermal, and hydropower remained relatively stable from 2000 to 2014.
  • In 2014, hydropower produced nearly half of total renewable electricity generation, wind produced 33 percent, biomass produced about 12 percent, solar (PV and CSP) produced 6 percent, and geothermal produced 3 percent.
  • Worldwide, solar photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) are among the fastest growing renewable electricity technologies.  In 2014 alone, combined capacity increased by more than 28 percent globally.
Solar energy

The first three concentrated solar power (CSP) units of Spain’s Solnova Solar Power Station in the foreground, with the PS10 and PS20 solar power towers in the background.

The U.S. states with the most installed renewable electricity capacity in 2014 are California (more than 28 GW), Washington (nearly 25 GW), and Texas (approximately 16 GW). In per capita terms, Washington had the most installed renewable electricity capacity, followed by North Dakota and Montana. Growth in installed renewable electricity capacity in 2014 was most significant in Nebraska (increased its wind capacity by more than 50 percent), Kentucky (added 24 percent to its hydropower capacity), and Mississippi (added nearly 21 percent to its biomass capacity). Texas installed more than 1.8 GW of wind capacity in 2014 and continued to lead other states in wind capacity with a cumulative 14 GW installed.

Worldwide, renewable sources accounted for almost 24 percent of all electricity generation (5,507 TWh) in 2014. China continued to lead the world in 2014 in cumulative total renewable electricity installed capacity, cumulative wind capacity, and hydropower capacity. Germany led the world in cumulative PV installed capacity, while the United States continued to lead in geothermal and biomass installed capacity.

The states with the highest cumulative wind installed capacity experienced the most growth in capacity in 2014 are Texas (1.8 GW), Oklahoma (0.6 GW), and Iowa (0.5 GW). In 2014, China continued to lead the world in cumulative installed wind capacity with over 114 GW.

Global cumulative installed offshore wind capacity reached nearly 8.8 GW in 2014, largely driven by projects in Europe. A total of 21 U.S. offshore wind projects, comprising more than 15.6 GW, are at various stages of development.

Global investment in renewable energy grew in 2014 after two years of decline. The highest levels of new investment in 2014 globally were represented by wind and solar. In the United States, new investment in clean energy grew 11 percent to $40.8 billion in 2014. Globally, new venture capital and private equity investment in clean energy increased from $1.4 billion in 2004 to $4.8 billion in 2014.

Images courtesy of Mitchell Technical Institute & Wikipedia