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Increased US renewable and natural gas generation to reduce summer coal demand

  • 5 months ago (2023-06-09)
  • David Flin
Coal 255 Gas 335 North America 975 Solar 230 Wind 231

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has forecast that the largest increases in the USA during the summer (June, July, and August) will come from solar, wind, and natural gas-fired power plants because of new generating capacity coming online. The rising generation from these sources will be offset by reduced generation from coal-fired power plants.

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It predicts that natural gas will remain the primary source of power generation, growing by 3 per cent, or 16.7 TWh compared to the same period last year. This increase is driven by additional natural gas-fired generating capacity and favourable fuel costs.

A large share of the new generating capacity built in the US over the past few years is solar or wind. Solar added 14.5 GW of new capacity and wind 8.0 GW in the 12 months ending May 31, 2023. EIA predicts that US wind-powered generation will be 7 per cent (5.8 TWh) higher than last summer, and that new solar capacity will lead to a 24 per cent (10.8 TWh) increase in solar generation.

EIA said that many solar projects are being built with associated battery storage systems. The electric power sector has added 5.3 GW of battery capacity in the past 12 months, an increase of nearly 90 per cent.