U.S. wind, solar to add record amounts in 2020 — EIA

Source: By James Marshall, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2020

Wind and solar are set to add record amounts of electric generation capacity this year, according to a report yesterday from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Around 18.5 gigawatts of wind will make up 44% of total U.S. electric generation additions in 2020, EIA said. That’s the equivalent of installing 7,622 new utility-scale wind turbines, according to Energy Department calculations.

The added wind generation is expected to surpass the previous record set in 2012 by more than 5 GW. In Texas alone, an additional 32% of wind is set to come online.

The federal production tax credit, which is scheduled to expire in December, is driving the uptick in wind, the report said.

The Lone Star State also will lead in solar, according to the projections, accounting for about a fifth of U.S. growth. Nationally, small-scale, rooftop solar systems also will experience sharp growth, with an added 5 GW.

The EIA report also analyzed the likely trajectory for fossil fuels.

Coal is expected to account for half of the 11 GW in scheduled capacity retirements, with pending closures of large plants in states such as Kentucky and Ohio.

A trio of aging natural gas plants in California are also closing this year, though more natural gas plants are slated to open overall. Nationwide, natural gas will experience 5.6 GW net gain in generation capacity, EIA said.

The Energy Information Administration collected the data through monthly surveys sent to developers and power plant owners.