While the overall percentage of renewable energy generation capacity is small, it is growing rapidly, especially compared to coal and other energy sources. Renewable energy represents just over 16% of the nation’s generation capacity. Much of that comes from hydropower, 8.44% of the national total. Wind follows at 5.20%, biomass at 1.36%, solar at .7%, and geothermal steam at .33%. In comparison, nuclear power represents 9.26% of the national total, and oil sits at 4.04%. Nor were the renewable energy growth rates for January an anomaly. They matched several months of renewable energy growth from 2013- November, October, and March of 2014 all posted similar figures.
Domestic renewable energy capacity added 324 MW in January of 2014. Solar powered most of this increase, with 87 plants adding 287 MW of capacity. Geothermal steam added 30 MW, biomass added 4 MW, and wind added 1 MW. Only 1 MW was added by non-renewable energy sources.
Further, the Department of Defense has been spurring growth in the renewable energy market as well. In January, the Army Corps of Engineers announced 20 new renewable energy contracts, part of an overall $7 billion the Department of Defense intends to spend on renewables. The overall campaign includes wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal, though no new geothermal contracts were included in the most recent batch.