More than 374,000 MW of new generation capacity under development in U.S., APPA reports

April 7, 2021

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
April 7, 2021

More than 374,000 megawatts of new generation capacity is under development in the U.S., with 100,047 MW that is under construction or permitted and 274,309 MW that is proposed or pending application, according to a new report from the American Public Power Association (APPA).

The report, “America’s Electricity Generation Capacity: 2021 Update,” notes that the overall capacity mix continues to shift toward natural gas, solar, and wind.

Over the past five years, these three resources have been the dominant sources of new generating capacity in the U.S. Wind and solar especially are the primary sources for new capacity brought online over the past year and slated for development over the next several years.  

Solar accounts for 36% of the new generating capacity under construction or permitted, and wind and natural gas account for most of the remaining capacity in these categories, the report said.

Natural gas, solar, and wind projects account for nearly 97% of all capacity under construction.

Of the capacity slated to begin operating in 2021, 97% will be fueled by these three resources, with wind and solar accounting for more than 79% of new capacity.

“Not only are the shares of wind and solar generating capacity increasing, but the total aggregate capacity is steadily increasing,” the report said.

New wind capacity topped 10,000 MW in 2020 for the first time and when combined with solar capacity, these sources are expected to exceed 30,000 MW in additions in 2021.

“While some of this spate of activity can be attributed to expiring tax credits, it also reflects a general shift towards emissions-free generation,” the report said.

The report also offers information on retirements and planned retirements, cancellations, and capacity added over the past several years.

As has been the trend in the past few years, coal-fired resources account for more than half of planned retirements announced in the next few years.

“It is difficult to predict with precision the total amount of capacity that will be brought online further in the future, but the sheer amount of capacity at earlier stages of development suggest that wind and solar capacity will continue to significantly increase, buttressed by a steady amount of new natural gas capacity,” the report said.

To download the report, click here.

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