The Energy Information Administration (EIA) published its latest forecast for new electric generation in 2019 with fully 66 percent of the expected 23.7 gigawatts (GWs) of new generation coming online, coming from renewable energy sources, while the rest will come from natural gas. At the same time the majority (53 percent) of the 8.3 GWs of electric generation retirements will be coal plants.
The majority of the new electric generation will come from wind, which will make up 10.9 GWs of new generation, that’s 46 percent of all new generation. Solar will account for 18 percent of electric generation with 4.3 new gigawatts of utility-scale solar power. However, 3.9 gigawatts of small-scale solar, like rooftop solar, also is projected to come online in the year, which is not part of EIA’s overall projections.
Solar continues to grow, albeit at a slower pace. Solar panels have been hit by Trump’s import tariffs that have slowed their deployment, particularly in the utility-scale segment.
Another 34 percent of electric generation, 7.5 GWs, is expected to come from new natural gas plants, the agency added. The remaining 2 percent of new utility-scale electric generation will come from other renewables and battery storage capacity.
The new renewable energy projects are concentrated in certain states. “Nearly half of the 4.3 GW of utility-scale electric power sector solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity additions are located in three states: Texas, California, and North Carolina,” said EIA principal contributor: Cara Marcy. Likewise with wind, most of which is slated to come online towards the end of 2019. “Three states—Texas, Iowa, and Illinois—will be home to more than half of the 2019 planned wind capacity additions,” she said.
Coal is becoming increasingly less competitive. The largest energy source being retired in 2019 will be from coal plants. Just one coal plant, the Navajo station in Arizona will account for half of the planned retirement capacity for coal. That plant came online in the 1970s. Still, EIA stated that the 4.5 GWs of coal power retiring in 2019 is much less than the 13.7 GWs of coal that retired in 2018.Tweet