Half of new utility scale energy capacity in 2022 will come from solar

Published on January 12, 2022 by Dave Kovaleski

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A new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said that 46.1 gigawatts (GW) of new utility-scale electric generating capacity will be added to the U.S. power grid in 2022.

Of that amount, approximately half of the planned capacity additions will be solar energy, with roughly 21 percent coming from natural gas and 17 percent from wind. The planned additions are reported to EIA by developers and power plant owners through annual and monthly surveys.

In terms of solar, EIA expects utility-scale solar generating capacity to grow by 21.5 GW in 2022. This would surpass last year’s 15.5 GW of solar capacity additions. Most planned solar additions this year will be in Texas with 6.1 GW of capacity added, or 28 percent of the national total, followed by California with 4.0 GW of new capacity.

Concerning natural gas, EIA expects 9.6 GW of new natural gas-fired capacity to come online in 2022, with combined-cycle plants accounting for 8.1 GW of the planned capacity additions. Combustion-turbine plants should account for 1.4 GW. About 88 percent of the planned natural gas capacity is located in Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and Illinois.

Wind saw a record-high 17.1 GW of wind capacity come online in 2021. In 2022, another 7.6 GW of wind capacity is scheduled to come online, with 51 percent of the new capacity additions located in Texas. Also, the 999 MW Traverse Wind Energy Center in Oklahoma, the largest wind project expected to come online in 2022, is scheduled to begin commercial operations in April.

In addition, utility-scale battery storage capacity is expected to grow by 5.1 GW in 2022, while 5 percent of the country’s planned electric capacity additions in 2022 will come from two new reactors at the Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia.