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From this month’s issue:
Depending on your position in the market, the recent and rapid growth of California wind+solar power generation is either joyous, or havoc-inducing. As you can see in the chart below, using the most recent data, combined wind+solar are increasing their share in California quite steadily, in a market that is mostly flat, and without growth. | see: Annual CA Power Generation in Thousand MWh: Ex-Wind+Solar (black) | Wind+Solar(checked) 2010-2014.
As recently as 2010, combined wind+solar were providing just 6,848 thousand MWh (megawatt hours) in an annual market that generated nearly 205,000 thousand MWh. But now in 2014, (annualized through the first three quarters), combined wind+solar generation has reached 25,650 thousand MWh in a market that really hasn’t grown—still slightly above 200,000 thousand MWh per year. The implications are clear. Combined wind+solar now provide 12.82% of California’s power generation from all sources. (Note: Although the 2014 data is annualized through the first 3 quarters the full year data will show additional growth and thus additional market share from combined+wind and solar generation).
Moreover, as has begun to happen in Europe, combined wind+solar even from low penetration levels have started to eat the lunch of the utility sector. The two renewable energy sources are increasingly doing the heavy lifting powergrids require during peak loads: providing the electricity needed as the world turns to power for cooling, and as a greater portion of global GDP runs on the back not of oil, but MWh. Exciting, but also intimidating!