Wind and Solar Data and Projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration: Past Performance and Ongoing Enhancements

US Energy Information Administration
http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/supplement/renewable/pdf/projections.pdf

[EIA Today in Energy] …While distributed solar PV data have been reported in the AEO for many years, until recently EIA’s Electric Power Monthly (EPM) included data only for utility-scale generation sites with capacities of at least one megawatt, reflecting the coverage of EIA’s monthly surveys of electric generators. However, beginning with the November 2015 Electric Power Monthly, EIA now includes data on capacity and generation of distributed solar PV units in addition to data for utility-scale systems. Data reported in the EPM include both generation and capacity by state and sector.

Turning to projections, some critics have argued that EIA’s recent AEO Reference case projections have consistently understated the adoption of wind and solar power. A review of past performance of EIA’s projections does not offer much support for this argument, particularly when it is recognized that AEO Reference case projections deliberately incorporate existing laws and regulations that are in effect at the time the Reference case projections are developed and do not attempt to forecast future policy decisions.

This is of particular importance for wind and solar, where policies and policy changes have had a very significant influence on realized outcomes…

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