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Plant retirements offset nearly 90% of US capacity additions in June

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Plant retirements offset nearly 90% of US capacity additions in June

U.S. generating capacity expanded by a net 141 MW in June as 1,370 MW of new operating capacity was completed and 1,229 MW of capacity was permanently retired, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

Fifteen generation units entered service, while 11 units were retired. Natural gas accounted for the largest amount of completed capacity, at 42.3%, while coal made up the majority of retired capacity, at 68.6%.

Six new power plant units with a total capacity of 138 MW were announced. Although a single wind project accounted for 57.2% of total announced capacity, planned battery facilities made up the largest number of new units.

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Completed

The largest single resource brought into service in June was PSEG Power Connecticut LLC's 576-MW Bridgeport Harbor Station Combined Cycle Project in Fairfield County, Conn. The two-unit gas facility is part of parent company Public Service Enterprise Group Inc.'s strategic plan to upgrade its generation fleet in line with its commitment to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions. Bridgeport Harbor operates in the ISO New England market.

The next-largest addition was the 478-MW, wind-powered Hale Community Energy facility in Hale County, Texas, owned by Xcel Energy Inc. subsidiary Southwestern Public Service Co. The plant is part of Xcel Energy's wind energy capacity expansion in its Texas-New Mexico service area. The wind farm was completed on time and under budget, with an investment of more than $700 million.

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Announced

The 79-MW Lone Tree Wind Farm was the largest by generating capacity of announced projects in June. The project, to be located in Bureau County, Ill., is owned by Leeward Renewable Energy LLC. It has an estimated cost of $142.9 million and an expected completion date in December 2020. Leeward Renewable, owned by private equity investors, said June 12 that a "virtual PPA" with Target Corp., which has pledged to source 100% of its electricity needs from renewables by 2030, will enable the construction of the wind farm.

Vistra Energy Corp.'s planned 20-MW Oakland (Battery Storage Project) in Alameda County, Calif., was the second-largest announced project. Slated to enter service in December 2022, the project is the subject of a 10-year resource adequacy contract recently approved by East Bay Community Energy, a local government-run retail energy supplier. The project is eyed as partial replacement for Vistra's 165-MW jet fuel-fired Oakland peaking plant, scheduled for retirement in 2022.

Duke Energy Florida LLC unveiled plans to build three lithium-based battery storage projects. The 11-MW Trenton Battery Facility will be located in Gilchrist County, and the Cape San Blas Battery Facility and Jennings Battery Facility, with 6 MW each, will be in Gulf County and Hamilton County, respectively. All three projects are slated for completion at the end of 2020.

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Retired

AEP Generation Resources shut down Units 5 and 6 of its coal-powered Conesville plant in Coshocton County, Ohio, with a combined capacity of 750 MW, the largest retirement for the month. Parent company American Electric Power Co. Inc. had said it would shutter the two units in 2022, but in October 2018 announced the entire plant's permanent shutdown in May 2020 with the likely retirement of the two units earlier due to market conditions.

Conesville's remaining operating unit, with a capacity of 780 MW, is expected to remain in service until May 2020.

In the second-largest retirement, the remaining unit at Entergy Corp. subsidiary Entergy Mississippi LLC's gas-fired Rex Brown facility in Hinds County, Miss., with a capacity of 206 MW, was shuttered. The unit was placed in service in 1959.

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