This week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released its March Energy Infrastructure Update, revealing that advanced energy accounts for all of the new capacity installed so far this year. This data comes from calculating all the newly built energy projects that have come online in the first quarter of 2013, as well as any expansion of existing projects. Wind is closing in on installing a gigawatt of capacity this year alone—so far wind projects have added 958 megawatts to America’s energy portfolio. AWEA also released its report for 2012 this week, revealing that the U.S. cruised past 60 gigawatts of total wind capacity last year.
According to the FERC report, March in particular was a good month for solar. All of the new electricity generation capacity installed in March came from solar projects. The solar industry is not resting on its laurels for April, however—First Solar stock skyrocketed last week after the company released its 2013 guidance. Likewise, the AEE member company’s acquisition of Tetrasun was heralded by The Motley Fool as a milestone. “What First Solar has done is flip its position in the industry,” Travis Hoium wrote. “Instead of playing a constant game of catch-up with Chinese competitors, it may now have a slight lead.”
Solar is not the only technology undergoing what might be seen as a sea change. The nation’s first enhanced geothermal system came online in April, heralding a breakthrough in geothermal technology. “The really exciting part is that this technology is, in short, a game-changer,” said Paul Thomsen, director of policy and business development at ORMAT, the company behind the geothermal installation. “Folks in the industry can now go back to existing wells that were unproductive if they had permeability problems, implement this technology at a relatively low cost, and potentially breathe life into unproductive wells.”
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