NEWS IN THE WORLD OF POWER AND INTEGRATED BUILDING SYSTEMS
14 ELECTRICALCONTRACTOR | SEP.14 | WWW.ECMAG.COM
> THE U.S. ENERGY INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION’S
new “Annual Energy Outlook 2014” predicts that below-average
annual increases in U.S. electric generating capacity will occur
through 2040; most new capacity will be natural gas-fired facilities.
The report projects 351 gigawatts (GW) of new electric generating additions between 2013–2040 in the electric power sector
and end-use sectors. Near-term additions through 2016 average
16 GW per year, followed by additions of less than 9 GW per year
through 2022, as existing generating plants will be sufficient to
meet expected demand growth in most regions.
A boom of new natural gas-fired plants began in 2000, large-ly driven by independent power producers in response to deregulation in the electric power sector. U.S. electric generating capacity
additions averaged 35 GW annually from 2000 to 2005. Almost all
the capacity added during those years was natural gas-fired, and
about two-thirds used efficient combined-cycle technology.
From 2006 to 2012, annual average capacity additions dropped
Below-Average Increases Estimated
to 19 GW, with 42 percent of additions representing renew-
able technologies and 45 percent representing natural gas-fired
technologies. The renewable additions were primarily wind
plants built to take advantage of federal tax incentives and help
meet state renewable portfolio standards.
In the report, natural gas-fired plants account for 73 percent of
capacity additions (255 GW) from 2013 to 2040, compared with 24
percent for renewables; 3 percent, nuclear; and 1 percent, coal.
Of the 83 GW of renewable capacity additions, 39 GW are solar
photovoltaic (PV) systems ( 60 percent rooftop installations) and
28 GW are wind ( 60 percent occur by 2015 due to production tax
credits), as federal tax incentives, state energy programs and rising
fossil fuel prices increase the competitiveness of renewable-
electricity technologies. Nuclear additions total about 10 GW. New
coal plants total less than 3 GW, and more than 80 percent of that
total is currently under construction, as federal and state environ-
mental regulations and uncertainty about future limits on green-
house gas emissions reduce the attractiveness of coal-fired plants.
for U.S. Electric Generating Capacity
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