Pace of new power generation slowing in 2013

There has been nearly 2,000 MW less new generating capacity brought online during the first eight months of 2013 than there was during the same period in 2012.

That’s according to the latest monthly infrastructure report released Sept. 17 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The report suggests there was 11,168 MW of new generation commissioned from January through August of this year. By comparison, 13,033 MW of new capacity was installed during the same period in 2012, according to FERC’s Office of Energy Projects Energy Infrastructure Update.

The same report, however, also indicates that the pace of new natural gas generation being brought online is running ahead of 2012. The installed capacity for new gas-fueled generation was 6,487 MW for the first eight months of 2013. That’s ahead of the same time in 2012 when 5,049 MW of new gas-fired power was installed.

So far there is a big disparity in wind additions between 2013 and 2012. The monthly report shows only 959 MW of new wind being added through August 2013. That’s compared to a whopping 4,095 MW of new wind in the first eight months of 2012.

Many wind developers were seeking to get new wind units online in 2012 to qualify for the production tax credit (PTC). The revised PTC rules calls for qualifying wind projects to merely start construction by the end of 2013.

Solar power capacity additions are doing better so far this year. There has been 1,774 MW of new solar install in the first eight months of this year, compared to 897 MW in the first eight months of 2012.

Calpine, NRG Energy bring on new gas capacity in California

The August infrastructure report shows that Calpine (NYSE:CPN) and NRG Energy (NYSE:NRG) brought online much natural gas-fueled capacity in California during August.

Calpine’s two new combined-cycle gas plants in the San Francisco Bay area are the 620-MW Russell City plant and the 140-MW Los Esteros Critical Energy Facility Phase 2 Expansion. The power generated is sold to Edison International (NYSE:EIX) subsidiary Southern California Edison (SCE) under long-term contract.

NRG’s 537-MW natural gas-fired El Segundo Power Expansion in Los Angeles County, CA is online. The power generated is also sold to SCE under long-term contract.

California is also hot spot for renewable generation

Meanwhile, developers in California are also working to building new renewable capacity to meet the state’s ambitious clean energy mandate.

•Three solar plants with a total of 464 MW capacity in Imperial County, CA are online: Southern (NYSE:SO)’s 139 MW Campo Verde Solar Project; LS Power Group’s 125 MW Centinela Solar Energy Phase 1; and the AES (NYSE:AES)’s 200 MW Imperial Valley Solar Phase 1. The power generated from these facilities is sold to Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE) subsidiary San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) under long-term contracts. The power is delivered to San Diego via the Sunrise Powerlink transmission project.

EDF Group’s 67 MW Catalina Renewable Energy Project Phase 2 in Kern County, CA is online. The 50 MW Phase 1 Project came online in December 2012. The power generated is sold to SDG&E under long-term contract.

Consolidated Edison’s 21 MW SPS Corcoran Solar in Kings County, CA is online. The power is sold to PG&E under long-term contract.

• Ten solar plants with a total of nearly 20 MW in North Carolina are online. The power generated from the following plants is sold to Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) subsidiary Progress Energy Carolinas under long-term contracts: Snow Hill Solar I & II, and Arba Solar, 2 MW each, in Greene County; East and West Wayne Solar, 2 MW each, in Wayne County; 2 MW Castalia Solar in Nash County; 2 MW Franklin Solar II in Franklin County; 2 MW Kinston Solar in Lenoir County; and 1.5 MW Onslow Energy in Onslow County. The power generated by 2 MW NC One in Northampton County is sold to Dominion North Carolina Power, a subsidiary of Dominion (NYSE:D), under long-term contract.

Solventerra LLC’s 2 MW N. Brookfield Apple Solar in Worcester County, MA is online.

Granger Electric’s 3.2 MW Orchard Hill Landfill Gas in Berrien County, MI is online.

Delaware Electric Cooperative’s 4 MW Bruce A. Henry Solar Energy in Sussex County, DE is online.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.