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Wind, solar total more than half of new US capacity added in 2019

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Wind, solar total more than half of new US capacity added in 2019

Wind and solar plants totaled about 52% of the new power generation resources added in the U.S. in 2019.

A total of 18,400 MW of new power generation capacity came into service, down from almost 25,000 MW in 2018. A third of the 2019 additions is powered by wind and 19% by solar, S&P Global Market Intelligence data shows. The share of new capacity fueled by natural gas declined to 46% in 2019, compared to 75% in 2018.

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Renewable additions

Roughly 44% of the 6,028 MW of wind installed is in the Texas market managed by the Electric Reliability Council Of Texas Inc. The Midwest power markets overseen by the Southwest Power Pool and Midcontinent ISO each also saw more than 1,000 MW of wind installed last year.

The three largest wind projects were built in Texas. They include the 478-MW Hale Community Energy plant in Hale County, which serves Xcel Energy Inc. subsidiary Southwestern Public Service Co. The first 450 MW at Enel SpA's High Lonesome Wind Power in Crockett County began operating, and the project has another 51 MW in early development. Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. subsidiary Alterra Power Corp. built the 350-MW Foard City Wind Project, which sells 300 MW under contract to Dallas-headquartered generator Vistra Energy Corp.

Solar capacity additions totaled 3,588 MW, up from 2,888 MW in 2018. Projects at or above 100 MW came on in California, Nevada and Texas. In the California ISO, most of the new capacity added was solar, with small amounts of wind, gas, biomass and battery storage also built. Some of the larger facilities included the 150-MW California Flats Solar 150 (California Flats Solar South) in Monterey County, owned by asset manager Capital Dynamics Holding AG, and Duke Energy Corp.'s 150-MW North Rosamond Solar Array in Kern County. Local utilities buy the output of both.

The largest U.S. solar installation last year in terms of capacity was added in Texas. Innergex Renewable Energy brought online the 250-MW Phoebe Energy Project in Winkler County in November. The bulk of its output is sold under a 12-year contract to Royal Dutch Shell PLC affiliate Shell Energy North America (US) LP.

Last year also saw 14 battery storage projects installed in eight states, totaling 124 MW.

Natural gas

Though the nearly 8,500 MW of new natural gas capacity built in 2019 was less than the amount added during the prior year, new additions were still prominent in the PJM Interconnection, MISO, New York ISO and ISO New England markets and other states outside of regional power markets.

Among the notable additions was NextEra Energy Inc. subsidiary Florida Power & Light Co.'s 1,723-MW Okeechobee Clean Energy Center Unit 1 combined-cycle plant in Okeechobee County, Fla., the largest U.S. power plant added last year.

Six gas plants were built in the PJM region, five of which are in Pennsylvania. Among the larger facilities is the 1,050-MW CPV Fairview Energy Center, co-owned by affiliates of asset manager Global Infrastructure Management Participation LLC, Japanese utility Osaka Gas Co. Ltd., and General Electric Co. Calpine Corp.'s 874-MW York 2 Energy Center and the 488-MW Birdsboro combined-cycle plant, owned by a combination of private equity firms and Japanese utility companies, were also new additions in the state. Two turbines totaling 806 MW started operations at the Lackawanna Energy Center, operated by Invenergy LLC and co-owned by several investors, bringing the plant's total capacity to 1,480 MW.

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