Tuesday, October 22, 2013

New Generation Capacity Down 24% In 2013 As New Wind And Coal Fall Sharply

After a strong year for new generation in 2012, led by a blowout wind boom, building new power facilities is down 24% in 2013 through September. So far, 10,717 megawatts have been built.

By comparison, at this point in 2013, a big 14,217 megawatts had been already brought on line. Importantly, these numbers do not include distributed solar, an important exclusion, as is discussed further below.

The 24% decline in new generation results from a huge drop in new wind capacity and a significant decline in new coal power.  Through September, just 961 megawatts of new wind had been connected to the grid, compared to 5,043 megawatts at the same point in 2012.

New coal capacity in 2013 is also down from 2012.  Through this September, 1,543 megawatts of new coal has come on line, compared to 2,359 megawatts at this point in 2012.

Strong gains this year in new solar and natural gas capacity have not been enough to offset the wind and coal declines. It, however, is important to note that FERC does not include in the solar category distributed solar. When solar and distributed solar specifically were tiny parts of new generation capacity coming on line, excluding distributed solar from the FERC data was not a major weakness in its data. But now that exclusion does provide an importantly incomplete of new electricity generating capacity in the USA.

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