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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Just-published industry data shows that installation of renewable power and battery storage capacity is on a record pace this year.

By the numbers: The American Clean Power Association said 9,915 megawatts of capacity came online in the first half of this year — a 17% increase over the first half of 2020.

  • On a quarterly basis, new solar installations in April-June were 2,226 megawatts of capacity, a 73% jump over the first quarter.
  • Q2 wind capacity installations were 2,824 megawatts, similar to Q1 and above the same period last year.

New battery storage capacity is growing even faster, albeit from a much smaller base, with Q2 installations of 570 megawatts compared to roughly 100 in Q1.

  • The storage amount added this year already comes close to matching 2020's full-year additions.
  • U.S. battery storage is expected to see a lot more growth in the years ahead.
Reproduced from the EIA; Chart: Axios Visuals

The chart above is from a new Energy Information Administration report on the storage market.

  • It looks at large-scale systems — that is, grid-connected projects with a capacity of more than 1 megawatt.
  • Most of the large-scale systems coming online in the next few years will be co-located with solar installations.
  • Of note: The EIA report is based on surveys of the industry and does not try to model potential policy changes or new incentives.

The intrigue: While renewables are surging, the industry and the White House say new policies are needed to reach President Biden's target of 100% carbon-free power by 2035.

  • The trade group is pushing for an extension of renewable power tax credits, the creation of federal storage and transmission credits and other steps.
  • "This growth and expansion are expected to continue but we need policymakers in Washington to make long term decisions to ensure we can continue to develop these critical projects," CEO Heather Zichal said in a statement.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 2, 2021 - Energy & Environment

80% of the Gulf's oil and gas production is still offline after Hurricane Ida

A flooded street in Jean Lafitte, Louisiana, on Sept. 1. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Power and oil-and-gas production are starting to revive after Hurricane Ida, but there's a long way to go for Louisiana's sweltering residents and industrial damage assessments are ongoing.

Driving the news: The Interior Department reports that roughly 80% of Gulf of Mexico crude oil production and 83% of gas production was shut-in as of yesterday.

Dems' immigration plan hits major roadblock

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Sunday that Democrats cannot include pathways to citizenship in the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, per a copy of the ruling obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: It's a blow to Democrats who hoped to provide pathways for millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Using reconciliations would have allowed them to pass politically contentious immigration changes with only 50 votes, as opposed to the usual 60 required.

FBI says human remains found in Wyoming likely Gabby Petito

Gabby Petito. Photo: FBI

Human remains found in Teton County, Wyoming, are "consistent with the description of" missing 22-year-old Gabby Petito, said FBI Denver official Charles Jones at a news conference Sunday.

Details: The cause of death had yet to be determined, but Jones said: "Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100% that we found Gabby, but her family has been notified of this discovery." Authorities said they're continuing the search for her fiancé, Brian Laundrie.