US EIA says solar power will surpass hydropower by 14% in 2024


From pv magazine USA

The EIA's November “Short-Term Energy Outlook” projects that solar will surpass hydroelectric power by 14% in 2024, due to the ongoing growth of utility-scale arrays and small-scale solar plants.

According to the American Clean Power’s (ACP) quarterly market report, the domestic utility-scale clean energy industry installed 5.55 GW of renewables in the third quarter. Solar installations ranked first at 3.1 GW, followed by battery storage at 2.1 GW and land-based wind at 288 MW.

The US Department of Energy, meanwhile, said in a recent report that hydropower datasets depicting capacity additions, investment in refurbishment and upgrades, turbine runner installations, and hydraulic turbine trade rates show lower activity throughout the early 2020s. This is compared to the 2010s, where hydropower capacity increased by 2.1 GW over the decade.

The DOE partially attributes hydropower upgrade and build-out decline to Covid-19 trade and travel restrictions. The new regulations caused supply chain challenges that resulted in construction delays and higher material costs. “In the case of US imports of hydraulic turbines and turbine parts, the decrease in activity started in 2019 and was likely influenced by US import tariffs.”

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The Inflation Reduction Act offers a $5.50 MW/hour and $22 MW/hour tax credit for applicable hydropower and marine energy projects. However, the DOE also attributes the decline of hydropower activity during 2021 and 2022 to the legislation.

“Plant owners were waiting for full guidance on implementing these incentives (which types of projects would qualify, details on wage, apprenticeship, and domestic content requirements) to make new capital investment decisions,” said the report.

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