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New electric generating capacity in 2019 will come from renewables and natural gas

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has some interesting statistics on the evolving mix of energy technologies. Old power plants are removed from service and new sources, mostly renewable, are being added.

According to EIA’s latest inventory of electric generators, 23.7 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity additions and 8.3 GW of capacity retirements are expected for the U.S. electric power sector in 2019. The utility-scale capacity additions consist primarily of wind (46%), natural gas (34%), and solar photovoltaics (18%), with the remaining 2% consisting primarily of other renewables and battery storage capacity.

  • Wind. A total of 10.9 GW of wind capacity is currently scheduled to come online in 2019. Most of the capacity will not come online until the end of the year, which is typical for renewable capacity. Three states—Texas, Iowa, and Illinois—will be home to more than half of the 2019 planned wind capacity additions.
    Natural gas. Planned natural gas capacity additions are primarily in the form of combined-cycle plants (6.1 GW) and combustion-turbine plants (1.4 GW). Most of the natural gas capacity is scheduled to be online by June 2019 in preparation for high summer demand. Of the planned natural gas capacity additions, 60% will occur in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Louisiana.
  • Solar photovoltaics. Nearly half of the 4.3 GW of utility-scale electric power sector solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity additions are located in three states: Texas, California, and North Carolina. In addition to the electric power sector, other sectors, such as the residential and commercial sectors, also install solar PV, e.g., distributed PV or rooftop systems. In addition to utility-scale capacity, EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook expects an additional 3.9 GW of small-scale solar PV capacity to enter service by the end of 2019.

Scheduled capacity retirements for 2019 primarily consist of coal (53%), natural gas (27%), and nuclear (18%), with a single hydroelectric plant in the state of Washington and other smaller renewable and petroleum capacity accounting for the remaining 2%.

  • Coal. Most of the coal retirements are scheduled to occur at the end of 2019. Half of the planned retirement capacity for coal is at a single plant, Navajo, located in Arizona that first came online in the 1970s. The 4.5 GW of coal-fired capacity expected to retire in 2019 is relatively small compared with the estimated 13.7 GW that retired in 2018, which was the second-highest amount of coal capacity retired in a year.
  • Natural gas. The scheduled natural gas retirements (2.2 GW) consist mostly (2.0 GW) of steam turbine plants. The natural gas steam turbine plants that are scheduled to retire are all older units that came online in the 1950s or 1960s. Most of the retiring natural gas steam turbine capacity (1.6 GW) is located in California.
  • Nuclear. Two nuclear plants totaling 1.5 GW are currently scheduled to retire in 2019. The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, located in Massachusetts, is scheduled to retire in May, and the remaining unit at the Three Mile Island Power Station, located in Pennsylvania, is scheduled to retire in September.

More information is available from the source: https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=37952

SRP and NREL Launch One of the Largest-to-Date Home Energy Storage Studies

October 25, 2018 (updated 5/14/19)-  SRP customers in central Arizona are participating in one of the largest energy storage studies, helping NREL and Salt River Project (SRP) identify the value that battery energy systems will have for customers and utilities.

With home battery energy systems (BES) gathering market momentum, residents and utilities worldwide are weighing the benefits of storage. To advance understanding of this emerging technology, one utility in central Arizona is collaborating with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to launch one of the largest BES studies to date for up to 4,500 of its customers.

Salt River Project (SRP), a major utility in one of the sunniest locations in the United States, is providing qualified customers financial incentives to purchase a residential battery system. Customers can be selected to participate in a research study, which provides a large-scale analysis of the benefits and impacts of BES technologies. NREL will assist the utility throughout the 3-year program by evaluating battery technologies and interpreting data about customer battery use.

The initial phase of the project will use research capabilities only found at NREL, including the Energy Systems Integration Facility’s high-performance computing to manage the millisecond-to-minute resolution data, and advanced battery testing in the Thermal Test FacilityPDF. Subsequent phases might use data from customer battery use and BES performance, allowing NREL researchers to develop modeling and simulation tools to assess the customer benefits and distribution network impacts of BES.

With energy storage technologies gaining importance, this study is a landmark effort to understand the value that BES technologies will have to both customers and utilities. The breadth and resolution of data, combined with the modeling and scenario analysis performed by NREL, will constitute a critical look at the foreseeable impacts of the storage industry.

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Arizona Solar Center note on the above: SRP has a Battery Storage Incentive program that as of mid-May 2019 had 3971 reservations remaining.  Of course, this only for SRP customers. Customers can get up to $3,600 (doubled effective 5-1-19) from SRP for adding a battery storage system to their homes. It is not necessary to have a PV system. Customers can call the SRP Connected Home team at (602) 236-4448 or see https://www.srpnet.com/electric/home/batterystorage/default.aspxThe Arizona Solar Center would like SRP customer feedback on this project for a future article, if you take part and would like to share your experience, drop us a note at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Under current policies, residential batteries increase emissions in most cases

Optimizing battery use to minimize emissions is possible, but generally overly expensive.

A recent study of residential home batteries that are AC coupled (such as Enphase and Tesla to name a few), as contrasted to the DC coupled residential home batteries  (such as SolarEdge SolarStore inverters for example) points out the fact how a battery system is charged relates to the effect on overall emissions.  If the battery is only discharged during periods of peak emissions and only charged when fossil fuel use is low, then a household might reduce emissions.

See the full report at: https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/12/residential-batteries-may-save-households-money-but-rarely-reduce-emissions/

Massive Asian Renewable Energy Project will generate 11,000+ MW in Western Australia

Long Term Large Scale Renewable Energy Project

This is an interesting project involving the Governments of Indonesia, Singapore and Western Australia, as well as large energy users and Nyangumarta people in the Pilbara.The Asian Renewable Energy Hub will generate 11,000+ MW of renewable energy in Western Australia. 5,000+ MW will be dedicated to large energy users in the Pilbara region, which could include new and expanded mines, downstream mineral processing and the large scale production of hydrogen for domestic and export markets. 6,000 MW will be exported to South East Asia through undersea High Voltage DC transmission cables.

7,000 square kilometres (2,700 square miles) of prime land in the East Pilbara region of Western Australia was selected to accommodate at least 7,500+ MW of wind turbines and 3,500+ MW of solar photovoltaic panels. Outstanding wind and solar resource and large project scale will result in competitive, firm renewable energy generation.

Learn more at https://asianrehub.com/