Home / Tech News / After a boom year for new natural gas plants, renewables set to retake the lead

After a boom year for new natural gas plants, renewables set to retake the lead

Wind turbines at the Cedar Point Wind Energy Project in Limon, Colorado.
Amplify / Wind generators on the Cedar Level Wind Power Undertaking in Limon, Colorado.

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In 2019, extra renewable power shall be added to the grid than fossil fuel-based power, in step with estimates from the Power Knowledge Management (EIA). That were the craze between 2013 and 2017, however closing yr new herbal gas-fired energy crops outpaced renewable additions to the grid. Because of this, US carbon emissions greater, particularly from the facility sector, in spite of the speedy retirement of coal crops and a rising awareness in regards to the necessity of low-carbon power.

EIA expects 2019 to be a extra modest yr for brand new power capability in comparison to 2018, with handiest 24 gigawatts (GW) of overall capability additions predicted for 2019 in comparison to the 34GW of capability additions predicted for 2018. In 2018, EIA predicted that 21GW of herbal gasoline crops would come on-line, with kind of 11GW of recent renewables coming on-line, making 2018 the primary yr since 2013 wherein renewables did not make up the majority of the brand new capability added in america.

A up to date file from the Rhodium Crew presentations that exact installations in 2018 observe with the EIA’s 2018 estimate: between January and October 2018, 14.9GW of herbal gasoline capability have been added to america grid, whilst handiest 7.9GW of sun and wind capability have been added. Extra energy crops have been most probably grew to become on between October and December, and the ratio of herbal gasoline to renewable installations is similar.

What is going to 2019 appear to be?

Power Knowledge Company

2019 will glance reasonably other, in step with the EIA. Wind energy on my own, at 10.9GW, is lately scheduled to come back on-line earlier than the top of the yr, most probably spurred by way of the phase-out of an Funding Tax Credit score (ITC) on newly constructed huge wind initiatives that expires on the finish of 2019. (Small wind initiatives, with generators smaller than 100kW, can nonetheless benefit from the ITC for some future years.) As well as, four.3GW of sun photovoltaics are set to come back on-line in 2019.

Simplest 34 p.c, or kind of 8GW, of deliberate capability on america grid shall be herbal gasoline, a marked lower from closing yr.

Nonetheless, that can be chilly convenience taking into consideration that any additions of fossil gas capability to the grid will make it tougher to achieve international local weather targets.

Attrition may not essentially lend a hand both. Simply 2.2GW of herbal gas-fired capability is about to be retired in 2019, together with 1.5GW of (carbon-free) nuclear and four.5GW of coal-fired capability. (For coal, 2019 may form as much as be a not-so-bad yr, in comparison to 2018 when 13.7GW of coal-fired capability have been retired.)

All the herbal gasoline gadgets which can be set to retire in 2019 got here on-line within the 1950s and 1960s, the EIA says. Two nuclear reactors are set to retire this yr, one on the Pilgrim Nuclear Energy Station in Massachusetts and the opposite on the 3 Mile Island Nuclear Energy Station in Pennsylvania (its closing ultimate unit). Part of the whole coal capability set to retire this yr comes from the Navajo energy plant in Arizona, which has did not discover a purchaser since its doable shutdown was once introduced.

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