Three-Quarters of New US Generating Capacity in 2020 Will Be Renewable, EIA Says

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has confirmed what it
and industry watchers predicted a year ago—that wind and solar
power will expand on their already-large share of new U.S.
generation capacity in 2020. 

According to EIA data released Tuesday,
wind and solar will make up 32 of the 42 gigawatts of new capacity
additions expected to start commercial operation in 2020, dwarfing
the 9.3 gigawatts of natural gas-fired plants to come online this
year. 

EIA’s numbers also break records for both wind and solar in
terms of annual capacity additions. The 18.5 gigawatts of wind
power capacity to come online in 2020 surpasses 2012’s record of
13.2 gigawatts, and pushes total U.S. production well past
the 100-gigawatt
milestone
 set in the third quarter of 2019.


Wood Mackenzie is expecting
15.2 gigawatts of new wind this
year, with some projects delayed into 2021 amid a historic wind
construction boom.

Meanwhile, EIA’s forecast of 13.5 gigawatts of utility-scale
PV would break 2016’s record 8 gigawatts, with growth heavily
concentrated in just four states: Texas with
22 percent of the national market, California at
15 percent, Florida at
11 percent and South
Carolina
 at 10 percent. And EIA’s projection of 5.1
gigawatts of distributed solar to be installed this year, part of
its Short-Term Energy Outlook forecast, would break annual records
for rooftop PV. 

These solar forecasts line up with those from the
latest U.S.
Solar Market Insight Report
 from Wood Mackenzie and the Solar
Energy Industries Association (SEIA). They also correspond
to trends EIA predicted back in January
2019
, when it declared wind and solar the likely
fastest-growing resource for “at least the next two
years.” 

Driving this expansion is the coming expiration of the
investment tax credit (ITC) for solar power and production tax
credit (PTC) for wind power, which sets hard deadlines for
completing projects seeking the credits. While Congress
in December
 extended the PTC through 2020 for future wind
farms, solar industry lobbying failed to win an extension of the
ITC past current plans to phase it down to a permanent 10 percent
for developers by 2022. 

EIA’s latest data also puts the focus on coal’s
continued decline
, with coal-fired power plants making up 5.8
gigawatts of the 11 gigawatts of capacity retirements scheduled for
2020, half of it in Kentucky and Ohio.

Older natural gas-fired power plants in
California
 will account for most of the 3.7 gigawatts of
natural gas retirements projected for the year, and two closing
nuclear power plants —New
York’s Indian Point
 and Iowa’s Duane Arnold Energy
Center—will remove 1.6 gigawatts of capacity. 

Source: FS – Transport 2
Three-Quarters of New US Generating Capacity in 2020 Will Be Renewable, EIA Says



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