Energy News: California sets solar production record, offshore hydropower grows

July 19, 2016

The state produced 8 gigawatts of solar energy, doubling its production totals from two years ago.

California hits record-high solar electric power production

Solar energy production in in California recently hit a record high of 8 gigawatts, double the production of two years ago, according to

Increases in solar electric power production have come in response to California’s renewable energy mandate, which requires 33 percent of energy in the state to come from renewable sources by 2020. The current combined total of solar and wind productions comes in at 29 percent of energy production. The Clean Energy Renewable and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 also puts pressure on the state because it requires 50 percent of electricity to come from renewable resources by 2030.

Report expects offshore hydropower market to continue growth, become most favored energy technology

A recent market forecast from Global Market Insights shows anticipated growth of the offshore hydropower market by more than 3 percent from 2016 to 2023. The report added that the sector’s growth in 2015 accounted for more than 16 percent of overall power production.

The report pointed to the following as likely drivers of continued growth in the offshore hydropower market:

  • Clean energy aspect
  • Non-intermittent flow of electricity
  • Control over production by plant operators
  • Increasingly negative views of conventional energy sources
  • Increasing carbon footprint
  • Lack of extra construction requirements
  • Demand for globally decentralized electricity production

Aspects which could potentially negatively affect the industry’s growth include:

  • Large production systems
  • Affect on wildlife and environment when not properly constructed
  • Number of permits required
  • High financial requirements

The report anticipates the offshore hydropower market will be the "most favored technology for power generation" moving forward.

Four Ohio River nonpowerd dams to be converted to hydroelectric dams in 2016

Four currently nonpowered dams (NPD) in the Ohio River region will be converted to hydroelectric plants in 2016 resulting in a 313 MW increase in hydroelectric power to the region: the Cannelton, Meldahl and Smithland dams in Kentucky and the Willow Island dam in West Virginia. A 32 percent hydroelectric power increase in Kentucky and a 15 percent increase in West Virginia will result from these conversions, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Hydroelectric generators in the U.S. produce about 6 percent of the total net generation of electricity annually, and only 3 percent of dams in the country currently produce electricity. NPDs have the potential to produce 12,000 MW of additional generating capacity as of 2012.

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