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Chart Watch: New US gas-fired capacity in 2018 nearly doubles from prior year

Q2: U.S. Solar and Wind Power by the Numbers

Essential Energy Insights - September 17, 2020

Essential Energy Insights September 2020

Rate case activity slips, COVID-19 proceedings remain at the forefront in August


Chart Watch: New US gas-fired capacity in 2018 nearly doubles from prior year

The amount of gas-fired generating capacity added in the U.S. in 2018 nearly doubled the amount added the year before, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

New gas-fired capacity in 2018 totaled 18,550 MW, nearly three-fourths of the 24,808 MW added from all sources. The additions more than offset the 16,900 MW of capacity, mostly coal-fired, that was retired last year. In 2017, gas-fired capacity additions totaled 9,837 MW, about half the 19,367 MW that were added.

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The largest share of new capacity, totaling about 10,500 MW, was added in the PJM Interconnection region in the mid-Atlantic, and most of those new additions were large gas-fired units. Among them were Dominion Energy Inc.'s 1,588-MW Greensville Power Station, owned by its regulated utility Virginia Electric and Power Co. d/b/a Dominion Energy Virginia; the 1,124-MW Panda Hummel Station (Sunbury Repower CC) in Snyder County, Pa., owned by Panda Power Funds LP and Corona Power LLC; the 1,114-MW Wildcat Point Generation Facility in Cecil County, Md., owned by Old Dominion Electric Cooperative; and the 1,050-MW Moxie Freedom Generating Plant in Luzerne County, Pa., owned by private equity investors.

Two of the largest gas-fired power plants that began operating in 2018 are outside of competitive markets and directly serve their utility owners. Duke Energy Corp. added its 1,640-MW Crystal River CC (Citrus County) plant in Florida for its local utility Duke Energy Florida LLC, and the Tennessee Valley Authority added its 1,132-MW Thomas H Allen CC plant to replace a nearly 60-year-old coal-fired plant that was retired.

Smaller amounts of gas-fired capacity were added in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc., ISO New England, Midcontinent ISO and New York ISO markets. A U.S. affiliate of Japan's Osaka Gas Co. Ltd. is the largest single owner of the 805-MW Towantic Energy Center in Connecticut, in the ISO New England market.

Wind and solar capacity additions declined in 2018 compared to the year before. About 3,081 MW of wind was built in 2018, down from 4,987 MW added in 2017. Among wholesale power markets, ERCOT had the largest amount of wind capacity built, with about 1,080 MW, followed by the Southwest Power Pool, which had 580 MW. Another 705 MW of wind was built in the western U.S. outside of organized markets.

The solar industry took a hit when the Trump administration issued tariffs in January 2018 on imports of solar cells and panels. About 2,888 MW of solar was built in 2018, down from 3,964 MW added in 2017. Though California's policies have encouraged new renewablesd, only about 446 MW of the new solar capacity was located in the California ISO, but that amount excludes smaller solar system below 1 MW in size. Roughly 47%, or 1,366 MW, was located outside of ISOs and RTOs in areas such as Florida and parts of North Carolina.

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