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Renewables Tracker: Wind, solar additions climb in Q3 as hydro output dips

Highlights

Texas leads in total clean power capacity at 42.7 GW

California battery storage capacity jumped 119%

SPP leads wind market share at 26.7% for Q3

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas remains at the top for total renewable generation output across the US for third quarter 2021 as Texas added the most clean power projects, increasing its installed renewable capacity by 13% since the end of 2020, making large strides in solar and battery storage.

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ERCOT total renewable generation output averaged 275,015 GWh/day, up 16% year on year, followed by Southwest Power Pool with 257,393 GWh/day, up nearly 19% year on year which is the largest increase across the US, according to grid operator data. The California Independent System Operator total renewable generation output ranked third at 234,404 GWh/day in Q3, down 1.5%.

Hydro output across the nation dipped in Q3 from seasonality during the shoulder season.

There is now about 186.7 GW of operating clean power capacity in the US after the industry installed 3.336 in Q3, according to the American Clean Power Association's quarterly report for Q3 2021. Additions in the first three quarters of the year total 15.317 GW, surpassing 2020 as the most active first three quarters for installations by nearly 3 GW.

Developers added 1.565 GW of solar capacity in Q3, 1.551 GW of land-based wind and 220 MW of storage capacity, according to ACP. Solar accounted for 47% of new additions, followed by wind at 46% and storage at 8%, according to ACP.

RENEWABLES OUTPUT AVERAGE PER DAY Q3 2021 (GWh/d)
Hydro
Y-o-Y
Wind
Y-o-Y
Solar
Y-o-Y
Other
Y-o-Y
BPA
153.5
-21%
20.8
4%
CAISO
37.5
-28%
51.9
7%
110.7
8%
34.2
-9%
ERCOT
1.6
-9%
214.4
6%
59.
78%
SPP
31.5
-4%
226.9
23%
MISO
32.8
-8%
163.6
9%
PJM
50.8
24%
48.8
30%
20.8
83%
15.7
0%
NYISO
75.9
-49%
7.7
-55%
6.0
-49%
ISO-NE
16.9
43%
6.1
-14%
8.4
23%
16.3
0%
SERC/FRCC*
95.9
14%
5.9
38%
68.4
32%
-
-
WECC*
360.9
-20%
176.
0%
170.8
18%
*Platts Analytics
Source: Various entities indicated above

Strong solar

ERCOT solar output climbed 78% year on year to average 59 GWh/day in Q3, but only accounts for less than 5% of total market share, according to ERCOT data. PJM solar output had largest year-on-year increase across the US at 83%, averaging 20.8 GWh/day, according to PJM data.

ERCOT installed utility-scale solar has jumped 56% since the end of 2020 to 7.455 GW for Q3, according to ACP.

Notably, Iowa solar capacity climbed 610% to116 MW, Maine jumped 153% to164 MW and Alabama grew 115% to 424 MW.

There is currently 7.12 GW of installed solar capacity in ERCOT, with another 2.58 MW that has been synchronized to the grid, according to ERCOT's Capacity Changes by Fuel Type report. The grid operator expects to reach up to 10 GW by the end of the year, nearly 20 GW in 2022 and 31 GW by the end of 2023.

CAISO has the most installed utility-scale solar in the nation at 13.914 GW, up 4% since the end of 2020, according to ACP. Solar made up 15.5% of CAISO's total fuel mix in Q3, the most across the US.

Solar accounts for 58% of CAISO's installed renewable capacity, according to CAISO's latest Key Statistics report. There is currently 39.458 GW of solar in the generation queue, of which 14.225 GW have executed interconnection agreements.

Utility solar capacity makes up the second largest share of cumulative capacity with 54.209 GW, followed by battery storage with 3.167 GW, according to ACP.

Storage

Year-to-date storage capacity additions totaled 1.283 GW in Q3, surpassing total storage installations in all of 2020, according to ACP. There are currently 241 operating battery storage projects across 35 states.

California leads with 1.812 GW of installed utility-scale capacity, up 119% since the end of 2020, followed by Texas with 405 MW, up 60%, according to ACP. Notably, Arizona jumped 131% to 97 MW, as North Carolina climbed 100% to 20 MW and Maine grew 58% to 101 MW.

CAISO has 2.098 GW of installed storage capacity and expects to reach 3 GW by the end of the year. There is 79 GW of storage projects in CAISO's queue, 14 GW of which have executed interconnection agreements.

ERCOT has 833 MW of installed battery capacity, plus 281 MW synchronized to the grid, and expects to reach nearly 1.5 GW by the end of 2021, 3.9 GW in 2022 and 4.4 GW in 2023, according to ERCOT's Capacity Changes by Fuel Type report.

Waves of wind

US cumulative wind capacity increased by 1.2% over the quarter to 129.256 GW and represents the largest share of clean power capacity on the grid, according to ACP.

Texas leads in wind capacity with 34.842 GW installed, an increase of 7% since the start of the year, according to ACP. When combined with wind and storage, Texas leads the US in combined clean power capacity at 42.702 GW, up 13% from the end of 2020, followed by California at 21.81 GW, up 9%.

CAISO has 7.2 GW of installed wind capacity, representing 28.4% of its total renewable capacity, with more on the way. There is 1.885 GW of wind in its queue, 1.56 GW of which has executed interconnection agreements.

ERCOT has 28.215 GW of installed wind capacity, with another 5.538 GW synchronized to the grid, and expects to reach nearly 34.3 GW by the end of the year, 38.15 GW in 2022 and surpass 40 GW in 2023, according to ERCOT data.

Half of the states in SPP's footprint rank in the top 10 for US wind capacity, as SPP leads the nation in wind market share at 26.7% of the total fuel mix for Q3, according to SPP data. Wind led the SPP fuel mix in 2020 and grid operator officials expect wind to take the top spot again for 2021.

SPP wind output rose 23% year on year to average 226.9 GWh/day in Q3, as PJM wind output jumped 30% to average 48.38 GWh/day, according to SPP and PJM data.

Top 20 states ranked by installed capacity (MW)
Wind
Solar
Storage
Ranking
State
Installed
State
Installed
State
Installed
1
TX
34,842
CA
13,914
CA
1,812
2
IA
11,856
TX
7,455
TX
405
3
OK
10,186
NC
5,268
IL
133
4
KS
7,329
FL
4,516
MA
101
5
IL
6,411
NV
3,527
AZ
97
6
CA
6,084
AZ
2,692
HI
77
7
CO
4,603
GA
2,323
WV
66
8
MN
4,542
VA
1,632
NJ
62
9
ND
4,288
UT
1,376
NY
50
10
OR
3,767
SC
1,086
AK
45
11
WA
3,395
MN
1,043
IN
38
12
MI
3,231
MA
969
OH
33
13
WY
3,179
NJ
963
ME
33
14
IN
3,166
CO
784
MN
31
15
SD
2,921
NM
737
PA
28
16
NM
2,845
OR
701
NV
25
17
NE
2,668
NY
576
FL
24
18
MO
2,137
MD
468
NC
20
19
NY
2,112
AL
424
MD
13
20
PA
1,459
IN
410
AR
12
Source: ACP