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Dominion retirements dominate March US generating capacity changes

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Six trends shaping the industries and sectors we cover in 2021

Six trends shaping the industries and sectors we cover in 2021

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Essential Energy Insights - January 2021


Dominion retirements dominate March US generating capacity changes

Virginia-headquartered utility company Dominion Energy Inc. retired more than 1,600 MW of generating capacity in March, the bulk of the 2,233 MW that was shut down during the month.

The March retirements were almost equal to the 2,259 MW retired in February, though much more new capacity began operating in March, 1,373 MW, compared to 82 MW in February, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. Projects totaling 783 MW, all either solar or wind, were announced in March.

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Completed

The largest project to begin operation in March is the 874-MW combined-cycle York 2 Energy Center in Pennsylvania, which is owned by private generator Calpine Corp., and sells its output into the PJM Interconnection grid.

In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, WEC Energy Group Inc. subsidiary Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corp. brought on 10 new gas units totaling 181 MW across the F.D. Kuester Generating Station and the A.J. Mihm Generating Station after state regulators approved the new units in 2017. The new gas capacity helps replace the output of the coal-fired Presque Isle plant, which was shut at the end of March, though the Mihm plant's output is committed to an industrial customer.

Also in Michigan, DTE Energy Co. subsidiary DTE Electric Co. turned on the 161-MW Pine River Wind Park in Gratiot County.

Leeward Renewable Energy LLC completed a repowering project at its Mendota Hills Wind Farm in Lee County, Ill. The project involved expanding the plant's capacity to 76 MW and decommissioning the existing 50-MW wind farm.

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Announced

Solar resources dominated new projects announced in March. NextEra Energy Inc.'s regulated utility Florida Power & Light Co. has planned four solar projects, totaling 300 MW, for 2020 operation in the Sunshine State. Three of the four — the FPL Echo River Solar Energy Center, the FPL Okeechobee Solar Energy Center and the FPL Southfork Solar Energy Center — total 224 MW and were formally announced in March. They accompany the previously announced 74.5-MW FPL Hibiscus Solar Energy Center (Westlake Solar Energy Center).

Two separate solar projects were proposed in Wisconsin. Invenergy LLC affiliate Invenergy Solar Development LLC proposed the 200-MW Paris Solar Farm Project, along with 50 MW of battery storage, expected to be in service in 2021. Private developer Ranger Solar announced the 149-MW Badger State Solar Farm, scheduled to operate in 2022. Its output will be sold to a local utility.

The only wind energy project announced during the month was Energy Capital Partners LLC affiliate Terra-Gen LLC's 210-MW La Joya II Wind Project in Hidalgo County, Texas, slated for 2020 operation.

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Retired

Dominion Energy executives in March said they would retire a number of less efficient units which had previously been placed in "cold reserve." The plants were operated by regulated utility subsidiary Virginia Electric and Power Co. doing business as Dominion Energy Virginia. The retirements included 827 MW from the gas-fired Bellemeade Power Station, Possum Point and Bremo Bluff facilities; 734 MW of coal capacity from the Yorktown, Chesterfield and Mecklenburg stations; and the 83-MW Pittsylvania Power Station, which burns wood waste.

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