In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • New US electricity generation capacity in April 2020? 100% renewables.
  • With the right policies, the US could reach 90% clean energy by 2035.
  • India’s first solar ferry is shortlisted in the Gustave Trouvé Awards event.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

New US green generation capacity

Wind, solar, and hydropower provided 100% of the 1,328 megawatts (MW) of new US electrical generating capacity added in April, according to data released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Further, according to Solar Power World:

Renewable energy sources have accounted for 5,113 MW — or 56.3% — of the 9,082 MW added during the first four months of this year. Thirty-two new “units” of wind (totaling 3,104 MW) were added to the United States’ total energy generating capacity accompanied by 110 units of solar (1,973 MW), six units of hydropower (25 MW), and two units of biomass (11 MW).

Green energy now makes up 22.87% of the nation’s total available installed generating capacity. (For perspective, five years ago, it was 17.05%.) It surpasses coal, which sits at 20.32% and is shrinking (27.5% five years ago, to be precise).

FERC reports no new coal capacity in the pipeline over the next three years and just 4MW of new oil-based capacity.

It’s possible that green energy generating capacity could make up more than 25% of the US’s total available installed generating capacity within three years. However, natural gas, a fossil fuel, still makes up most of the total capacity.

The US: 90% by 2035

The United States could deliver 90% clean, net zero electricity nationwide by 2035, at no extra cost to consumers and without the need for new fossil fuel plants, according to a study released today from the University of California, Berkeley.

That is, with the right policies. If those aren’t put into place, this potential for clean energy, jobs, and cutting health costs will be wasted.

The report suggests:

The rapid buildout of additional renewable energy would inject $1.7 trillion of investment into the economy and increase energy sector jobs by up to 530,000 per year through 2035, across all regions of the U.S., without raising consumer bills. Delivering 90% clean electricity by 2035 also avoids $1.2 trillion in environmental and health costs through 2050 by reducing damages from air pollution and carbon emissions.

The UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy’s report also comes with a set of recommendations on how to achieve this goal from nonpartisan policy firm Energy Innovation that can be read here.

Indian solar ferry

The Aditya, India’s first solar-powered ferry, is the sole entrant from Asia that has been shortlisted among 12 ferries for the Gustave Trouvé Award. It’s being considered in the electric ferry boats (passenger boats) category.

The Gussies Electric Boat Awards (in which the public can vote — have your say!) are held in the memory of Gustave Trouvé, a French electrical engineer and pioneer in electric cars and boats, to recognize excellence in electric boats and boating.

The Aditya sails on the Vaikom-Thavanakadavu route in Kerala. The ferry normally takes 22 trips a day, covering a total of 66 km. It carries 75 passengers per trip.

It costs just ₹180 per day to run (around $2.40), compared to about ₹8,000 ($106) for a diesel-run ferry of a similar size. It is operated by the Kerala State Water Transport Department (KSWTD) and was built by Navalt Solar and Electric Boats in Kochi.

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