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US generating capacity additions outpaced by retirements in May

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US generating capacity additions outpaced by retirements in May

U.S. generating capacity shrank by a net 2,442 MW in May, as 1,820 MW of new operating capacity entered service while 4,262 MW of capacity was permanently retired, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

Ten generation units were completed, and natural gas accounted for 66.0%, or 1,200 MW, of the completed capacity. Seven units were brought offline, six coal-fired and one nuclear.

One new solar power plant with a total capacity of 150 MW was proposed and is expected to include additional on-site energy storage capacity.

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Completed

The two-unit, 1,200-MW Jackson Generation Energy Center in Will County, Ill., was the largest among capacity additions in May. The gas facility is owned by Japan-headquartered Electric Power Development Co. Ltd. subsidiary J-POWER USA Development Co. Ltd. It is operated by NAES Corp. and is Illinois' first advanced combined-cycle power plant, providing baseload power to high energy demand centers in the PJM Interconnection LLC market.

The 200-MW El Algodon Alto Wind Farm, powered by 91 wind turbines in San Patricio County, Texas, was the next-largest addition. The plant is owned by U.S.-focused developer RWE Renewables GmbH a unit of Germany-headquartered RWE AG.

With the exception of a 3-MW hydro unit that was completed at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, all other units that went online in May, are powered by solar and total 418 MW, or 23.0% of total new capacity.

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Announced

The 150-MW Evergreen Solar and Battery Project facility was the only announced project in May. The project, to be located in Matagorda County, Texas, is owned by Canadian Solar Inc. subsidiary Recurrent Energy LLC, a utility-scale solar developer. It has a maximum estimated construction cost of $195.0 million and an expected completion date in December of 2027. The project is slated to provide an additional 100 MW of energy storage capacity.

Retired

Coal accounted for the majority of retired capacity in May. Vistra Corp.'s accelerated closing of its 1,333-MW W.H. Zimmer plant in Clermont County, Ohio, was the largest retirement for the month. The unit first came online in 1991 and was supplied by coal from mines in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, purchasing more than 2 million tons in 2021. The retirement of the unit happened sooner than expected due to the facility failing to secure critical PJM capacity revenues. Vistra is focusing on transitioning to cleaner energy in its asset portfolio and will consider the Zimmer site for potential low carbon energy resources in the future.

GenOn Holdings Inc. retired both units at its Morgantown plant in Charles County, Md., removing 1,205 MW. The company had announced the retirement about a year prior.

NRG Energy Inc., through its Midwest Generation LLC, shut two units totaling 589 MW at its Waukegan plant in Lake County, Ill., also part of a previously planned retirement.

A 219-MW coal unit at the Logan station in Gloucester County, N.J., was also retired in May. The unit marks the shutdown of New Jersey's last coal plant, part of a deal approved by state regulators in March to transition to less carbon-intensive generation technology.

The other generating facility shut down in May was the Palisades nuclear facility in Van Buren County, Mich., with a capacity of 816 MW. Entergy Corp. said June 28 that it closed the sale of Palisades to Holtec International Inc., which will decommission the unit after more than 50 years of operation.

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