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EIA: natural gas to represent majority of 2018 electric capacity additions in US

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects nearly 32 gigawatts (GW) of new electric generating capacity will come online in the United States in 2018—more than in any year over the past decade. Although renewables such as wind and solar accounted for 98% of the 2 GW added so far this year (based on data for January and February), EIA expects about 21 GW of natural gas-fired generators will come online in 2018. If these generators come online based on their reported timelines, 2018 will be the first year since 2013 in which renewables did not make up a majority of added capacity.


Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory.

In 2017, renewables accounted for 55% of the 21 GW of US capacity additions, the fourth consecutive year in which renewables made up more than half. As of February 2018, renewables accounted for 22% of total currently operating US electricity generating capacity.

Generators’ planned online dates for the remainder of 2018 are based on data reported to EIA in the Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory.

The newly added generating capacity in January and February 2018 included 2,029 megawatts (MW) of renewables, 27 MW of fossil fueled generators, and 28 MW of other technologies, mostly consisting of energy storage batteries. In February 2018, for the first time in decades, all of the new generating capacity coming online within a month were non-fossil-fueled.

Of the 475 MW of capacity that came online in February, 81% was wind, 16% was solar photovoltaic, and the remaining 3% was hydro and biomass.

About half of the 21 GW of natural gas-fired generation capacity EIA expects to come online by the end of 2018 are combined-cycle units to be added to the PJM Regional Transmission Organization, which spans parts of several Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states. In the PJM region, Pennsylvania plans to add 5.2 GW; Maryland will add 1.9 GW, and Virginia will add 1.9 GW. Most of the new capacity is being added on the eastern side of the PJM region along the Transcontinental, the Dominion Transmission, and the Eastern Texas Transmission Pipelines.

Most of the 1,196 MW of new wind capacity that came online in January and February 2018 was added in states that already have significant wind capacity such as Texas, Oklahoma, and Iowa. In Texas, two utility-scale batteries totaling 20 MW were colocated at wind facilities. EIA expects five gigawatts of capacity to come online by the end of 2018. Of those 5 GW, 2 GW are in Texas, the state with the most wind capacity currently.

About 90% of Florida’s solar capacity has come online since 2016. In January 2018, Florida Power & Light (FPL) completed four solar photovoltaic projects totaling 300 MW. FPL plans for another four projects totaling 300 MW to have come online by March 2018. Upon completion, these eight projects will account for 54% of Florida’s utility-scale solar capacity. By the end of 2018, 4 GW of solar PV are expected to come online in the United States. More than half of the 2018 solar PV additions will be added in California, North Carolina, and Texas.



By denying climate change and creating policies slanted toward fossil fuels, the Republican Congress and President Trump have cleared the path for gas and coal to dominate the power generation market. These politicians will extend the use of dirty polluting fossil fuels by decades.


REs (with adequate storage) may still cost more than NGPPs but this may change with near future more efficient lower cost batteries?

The proper mix of REs and NGPPs could reduce the need for energy storage? Productive/non-productive wind and solar hours are easy to forecast?


Battery storage has proven to be more effective and less expensive than gas in fast ramp up modes and frequency correction functions. This saves the rate payers a lot of money. And, even when it is used in concert with wind and solar to feather and stabilize current output.

Additionally, one must realize that the overriding advantage is solar and wind with storage, have locally available fuel that doesn't require all the other expensive middleman processes needed to mine, transport, and distribute the fuel and the clean up processes to mitigate the created pollution and health damages after it is burned.


Yes, it's true that a 100 MWh / 400 MW battery system can ramp a lot faster than any gas turbine.  It's also true that demanding rated output from said battery system depletes it in 15 minutes at most.  When that 15 minutes is up, there better be a gas turbine or something to take up the load.  Barring failures and overhaul intervals, the gas turbine can run as long as it has fuel.

If you're going to use batteries to manage the grid, they're probably best employed in double-duty applications like PEVs.  It only takes about 60,000 active EV chargers at 6.6 kW apiece to provide the demand-side management load of the stationary battery (2x as many to provide the same peak-to-peak load variation, assuming no V2G capability).

Tesla alone is shipping 30k vehicles per quarter.  The AC Propulsion vision of using electric vehicles to provide most grid regulation functions ought to have been here already.

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