Projected US capacity additions

Projected US capacity additions

April 12, 2021 | By Keith Martin in Washington, DC

Solar, wind and storage are expected together to account for 83.1% of new capacity additions this year in the United States, according to most recent monthly forecast by the US Energy Information Administration.

Storage accounts for 9.3% of that amount. Solar is 37.7%, and wind is 36.1%. Natural gas at 14% and nuclear at 2.4% account for most of the rest. Unit 3 of the massive Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia is expected to come on line in November 2021. It is 1,117 megawatts.

Forty-four coal-fired power plants with a total capacity of 13,223 megawatts are expected to retire in 2021 and 2022. Four nuclear plants with a total capacity of 5,902 megawatts are expected to retire during the same period. Total US generating capacity is 1,119,187 megawatts. In a market where electricity demand has remained basically stagnant for the last two decades, coal and nuclear power plant retirements are what has given solar and wind developers the opportunity to grow.

US solar companies set a record last year, installing 19,200 megawatts of new capacity, according to the US Solar Market Insight 2020 report released in March by the Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenzie. The EIA forecast is for 16,929 megawatts in 2021. Installations in 2020 were 43% higher than the year before.