U.S. to add 21.5GW Solar Capacity in 2022; Texas to Claim over 6GW: EIA

Highlights :

  • EIA predicts that in 2022, 46.1 GW of new utility-scale electric generating capacity to be added to the country’s power grid in 2022.
  • Almost half of which is planned to come from solar, followed by natural gas at 21% and wind at 17%.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that in 2022, 46.1 GW of new utility-scale electric generating capacity to be added to the country’s power grid in 2022, almost half of which is planned to come from solar, followed by natural gas at 21% and wind at 17%.

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Developers and power plant owners report planned additions to EIA in its annual and monthly electric generator surveys. In the annual survey, EIA asks respondents to provide planned online dates for generators coming online in the next five years. The monthly survey tracks the status of generators coming online based on reported in-service dates.

According to EIA’s Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory, U.S. utility-scale solar generating capacity is expected to grow by 21.5 GW in 2022, surpassing last year’s 15.5 GW of solar capacity additions, an estimate based on reported additions through October (8.7 GW) and additions scheduled for the last two months of 2021 (6.9 GW). Most planned solar additions in 2022 will be in Texas (6.1 GW, or 28% of the national total), followed by California (4.0 GW), the report further notes.

As for wind, in 2021, a record-high 17.1 GW of wind capacity came online in the United States. EIA based this estimate on reported additions through October (9.9 GW) and planned additions in November and December (7.2 GW). Another 7.6 GW of wind capacity is scheduled to come online in 2022. About half (51%) of the 2022 wind capacity additions are located in Texas. The 999 MW Traverse Wind Energy Center in Oklahoma, the largest wind project expected to come online in 2022, is scheduled to begin commercial operations in April.

Notably, EIA expect U.S. utility-scale battery storage capacity to grow by 5.1 GW, or 84%, in 2022. Several factors have likely helped expand U.S. battery storage, including declining costs of battery storage, new battery storage applications, deploying battery storage with renewable generation, and adding value through regional transmission organization (RTO) markets.

Additionally, EIA also notes that another 5% of the country’s planned electric capacity additions in 2022 will come from two new reactors at the Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia. One of these reactors, Unit 3, was expected to come online in 2021, but the unit’s planned start date was delayed until June 2022 to allow additional time for construction and testing.

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