By - Jim Vess

Led by wind and natural gas, 49,000 megawatts of new generation to come on line in 2019

Energize Weekly, January 30, 2019

New generation is slated to grow by 49,000 megawatts (MW) in 2019 while 8,050 MW of coal-fired units will be closed or converted to natural gas, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Wind will account for the largest portion of new generation at 22,475 MW—45 percent of all planned additions. The biggest of the wind projects under construction is FGE Power’s 500-MW Goodnight Wind Energy plant in Armstrong County, Texas.

Natural gas is in second position with 13,993 MW of new capacity, 28 percent of the total. The largest gas-fired plant under construction is NextEra Energy’s 1,723-MW, combined-cycle facility in Okeechobee, Fla.

Solar was close behind in new capacity with 22 percent of the projected 2019 capacity—11,050 MW. The 250-MW Phoebe Energy project in Winkler County, Texas, is the largest solar facility under construction. It is owned by Innergex Renewable Energy Inc.

The news for coal-fired capacity is bad across the board. Overall, 8,597 MW of capacity is going to be retired in 2019. Coal-fired units account for 68 percent. In 2018, there were 11,800 MW of coal-fired capacity retired.

In addition to the closure of 5,834 MW of coal-fired capacity in 2019—a figure that only includes retirements that have already been approved— another 2,216 of capacity will be converted to natural gas.

Among the largest conversion projects is a 1,100-MW unit at Duke Energy’s Belews Creek plant in Stokes County, N.C. A second 1,100-MW unit at the plant is slated for conversion to natural gas in 2020.

Two nuclear power plants—Entergy Corp’s 682-MW Pilgrim plant in Plymouth, Mass. and Exelon’s 829-MW Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania—are slated to close. The operators say they are closing the plants due to market conditions.

Nearly 1,169 MW of stand-alone storage capacity is projected to be added by companies, S&P Global said. While there has been a lot of attention in the press on battery projects, pump storage will account for 86 percent of the new capacity.

There will be 169 MW of battery storage added in 2019, with the largest installation being Key Capture Energy’s 20-MW KCE NY 1 project in Saratoga County, N.Y. New York State has a goal of 1,500 MW of energy storage by 2025.

Nearly a quarter of the new capacity, 11.368 MW, will come on line on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid.

About 34 percent of the capacity will be evenly split between the grids of PJM Interconnection and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO). Another quarter will be installed outside wholesale markets in regions such as the West and the Southeast.

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