Powering Strong Communities

New Generation Capacity Under Development In The U.S. Jumps 10% Over 2021

Nearly 412,000 megawatts (MW) of new generation capacity is under development in the U.S., a 10% increase over 2021. Of this capacity, 112,859 MW is under construction or permitted, and 299,053 MW is proposed or pending application, the American Public Power Association (APPA) said in a recent report.

Natural gas, solar, and wind continue to be the dominant forms of new generation capacity, accounting for 99.74% of all capacity additions in 2021, and projected to account for 98% of capacity additions in 2022, according to the report, “America’s Electricity Generation Capacity: 2022 Update,” which was prepared by Paul Zummo, APPA’s Director of Policy Research and Analysis.

All capacity figures in the report only represent utility-scale capacity and do not include distributed and other small-scale generating capacity.

The report said that solar capacity has increased dramatically, with more than 25,000 MW gained since 2020, a 60% increase over the amount added in 2020. Solar was the leading source of new utility-scale capacity in 2021, the first time it has been the leading resource.

Solar is also the top resource in all four future capacity categories. In total, over 188,000 MW of solar capacity is at some stage of development, with another 131,318 MW of wind capacity in the pipeline.

The net gain of wind capacity compared with two years ago is almost 30,000 MW, which is a 29% increase from 2020.

The report also provides information on retirements and planned retirements and cancellations over the past several years.

More than 27,000 MW of planned capacity developments were canceled in 2021. Wind and solar projects account for more than half of the cancellations from 2014-2021.

Capacity additions (26,000 MW) represented more than three times the total capacity retired (8,700 MW) in 2021.

More than 72% of the capacity retired in 2021 was coal-fired facilities, with more than 6,000 MW retired.

More than 40,000 MW in coal capacity is planned to be retired through 2026, which represents more than 17% of the current generating capacity of all coal-fired facilities.

Currently, the U.S. has just over 1.2 million MW of generation capacity. The largest fuel source is natural gas, accounting for just under 44% of all generation capacity.

Coal, with a share of 18.5%, represents the second largest source of generation capacity. Nuclear, hydro, and wind together account for just over one-quarter of capacity. Solar currently constitutes over 5% of all capacity.

Data analyzed for the report comes from the ABB Velocity Suite database, which was accessed January 2022.

The report is available here.