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Renewable Tracker: Southeast renewables jump in Q2, Cal-ISO slips with low hydro

Highlights

Cal-ISO hydro output drops 46%

Southeast has double-digit output growth

WECC renewables share climbs

Houston — US Southeast region renewable output jumped an average of 41% year on year for second quarter 2020, the biggest regional increase across the country, while the Electric Reliability Council of Texas moved into the top renewable output spot totaling 288 GWh/day.

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Renewables in the Southeast totaled less than 8% of the market share despite a 34.6% jump in hydro, a 22.6% increase in wind and a 39.8% rise in solar in Q2, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics data.

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator followed the Southeast with a 22.3% average increase in renewables output for Q2, mostly due to a 26% jump in wind, the largest wind output increase nationwide, according to MISO data.

ERCOT had the biggest solar output increase at 106% year on year to average 27.9 GWh/d in Q2 as the grid operator is expected to add up to 3.5 GW of solar capacity this year, according to grid operator data. ERCOT hydro output plunged 51% year on year, the biggest hydro decrease across the country.

ERCOT also had the most wind output at 257.8 GWh/d in Q2 and the grid operator is slated to add nearly 8 GW by the end of 2020, in addition to more than 200 MW of battery storage, according to ERCOT data.

Behind ERCOT for most renewables output was the Southwest Power Pool at 274.3 GWh. SPP had the largest market share of wind across the country at 35.4% in Q2, up 2.1 percentage points from Q1, according to grid operator data.

Solar output climbed in every region of the country in Q2, and as expected, the California ISO had the largest market share at 17.5% of its total fuel mix. Cal-ISO even set a new instantaneous solar peak record of 12.016 GW on June 29, according to ISO data. The surge of renewables in spring, supported by longer, sunnier days, helped push wind and solar curtailments to a new monthly record of 318.444 GWh in April, according to Cal-ISO data.

Even so, Cal-ISO was the only region where renewables output fell year on year, down to an average of 17.2% in Q2, as hydro generation output slipped 46% from a year ago to average 56.5 GWh/day despite an increase from 36.3 GWh in Q1, according to Cal-ISO data.

Cal-ISO has an installed renewable capacity of 23.448 GW as of July 1 with plans to add about 2.8 GW of solar, wind, hydro and/or battery storage generation capacity this year, according to the ISO's interconnection queue data. In comparison, the ISO added 2.025 GW of solar generation capacity in 2019.

Supported by a rush of hydro this spring, BPA remained the footprint with the most renewables in its fuel mix, totaling 87% of market share for Q2, up 4.4 percentage points from Q1 but down 1.5 percentage points from a year ago, according to BPA data. Hydro output increased nearly 13% in the Pacific Northwest from Q1, as hydro generation accounted for nearly 80% of market share for Q2. Wind output slipped 8% in BPA year on year for Q2.

RENEWABLES OUTPUT AVERAGE PER DAY Q2 2020 (GWh/change on year)
Hydro
Y-o-Y
Wind
Y-o-Y
Solar
Y-o-Y
Other
Y-o-Y
BPA
230.1
2%
20.9
-8%
CAISO
56.5
-46%
57.
-7%
99.6
4%
33.3
-13%
ERCOT
2.3
-51%
257.8
17%
27.9
106%
SPP
36.5
-8%
237.8
21%
MISO
35.9
6%
191.3
26%
PJM
50.4
-4%
71.7
2%
12.
48%
13.2
-14%
NYISO
80.4
-3%
11.2
-3%
6.4
12%
ISO-NE
25.
-20%
10.1
14%
7.1
39%
14.9
1%
SERC/FRCC*
111.7
35%
5.4
23%
56.7
40%
6.5
-
WECC*
506.7
-11%
192.5
2%
154.1
3%
*Platts Analytics
Source: Various entities indicated above