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Duke Energy tops operating US coal, gas capacity ownership

Duke Energy Corp. topped the list of the largest owners of gas-fired and coal-fired power generating capacity in the U.S. in 2018 and ranked seventh in owned renewable generating capacity, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis.

The aggregate amount of coal-fired and gas-fired generating capacity for the 10 largest owners declined in 2018, while owned renewable generating capacity increased from the previous year, the analysis found. Total owned wind and solar capacity continued to grow, up 1 GW each since 2017.

Ownership totals include assets owned by both regulated utility affiliates and competitive market businesses within the same companies.

There was a bit shuffling in the ranking of the largest owners among gas- and coal-fired resources, while the largest renewable capacity owners were largely unchanged from 2017.


Duke Energy's gas-fired owned capacity increased 12.5% from 2017, giving it 25.43 GW and making it the largest owner of the year. Energy Capital Partners LLC-sponsored Volt Parent LP was a new entrant to the 10 largest owners list with 24.12 GW of capacity after closing the acquisition of gas plant operator Calpine Corp., landing in the third spot. Dominion Energy Inc. was the second new entrant to the group, with 12.59 GW gas-fired capacity. Dominion now owns more than 9 GW gas-fired capacity in Virginia, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

The total gas-fired capacity of the largest 10 owners saw a marginal year-over-year decrease of 0.9%.

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Duke Energy remained in the top position of coal plant owners, with 15.39 GW despite its owned capacity total declining 12.4% from the prior year. Similarly, American Electric Power Co. Inc. maintained the second spot, though its ownership total declined 5.2% year over year.

NRG Energy Inc. went down two spots with a 43.4% decline in coal-fired capacity after a separation in late 2017 with GenOn Holdings Inc. NRG had a total owned capacity of 7.35 GW in 2018.

DTE Energy Co. was the new addition to the list in 2018 with ownership of 6.02 GW. The company plans to phase out its coal-fired power plants by 2040, reducing carbon emissions by approximately 80%.

The aggregate ownership of coal-fired capacity by the 10 largest owners went down nearly 16% in 2018 compared to the year before as unit retirements continued despite the rollback of U.S. environmental regulations.

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Florida-headquartered NextEra Energy Inc. continued to remain the single-largest owner of renewable capacity, at 14.19 GW, of which 78% is powered by wind and 22% is powered by solar energy. Berkshire Hathaway Inc., through its Berkshire Hathaway Energy division, maintained the second spot on the list, with a 15.6% increase in owned capacity of renewable energy resources. Some of Berkshire Hathaway Energy's holdings are through its three U.S. regulated utilities, and others are through its BHE Renewables LLC business.

NextEra Energy Partners, the renewable energy yieldco affiliate of NextEra Energy, and Italy-headquartered Enel SpA, through its Enel Green Power business, were the two new owners to the list in 2018, securing the sixth and 10th spots, respectively.

The overall generating capacity of the 10 largest owners increased 4% in 2018 to an aggregate capacity of 57.58 GW.

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