The amount of new electric generating capacity installed during the first nine months of 2013 is lagging well behind the pace set in 2012, according to figures released recently by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Capacity installation for January through September of 2013 is 10,717 MW, compared to 14,217 MW installed through September 2012, according to the Energy Infrastructure Update for September issued by FERC’s Office of Energy Projects.
In other words there has been 3,500 MW less capacity installed through September 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.
In recent months many industry observers have cited various factors behind modest demand growth for new electricity. The factors include sluggish economic recovery, the impact of energy efficiency and demand side management and increased interest in transmission investment.
So far the biggest difference between 2012 and 2013 has been the 2012 wind energy boom. In the first nine months of 2012, 87 wind units were installed for a total of 5,043 MW.
By contrast, in the first three quarters of 2013, only nine new wind units have been commissioned for a total of 961 MW.
New natural gas and solar installations are actually running ahead of their 2012 pace.
Basin Electric brings on 45-MW gas unit in North Dakota
Here is a rundown of the electric generation highlights the FERC infrastructure report for September:
• Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s 45 MW natural gas-fired Pioneer Generating Station Phase 1 in Williams County, ND is online. Phase 2, with 90 MW, is expected to come online in January 2014.
• GreenWhey Energy’s 3.2 MW biomass fueled project in Polk County, WI is online. GreenWhey’s two anaerobic digesters convert wastewater from the area cheese processing plants into electricity which is sold under long-term contract to Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL).
• Three solar plants with a total of 5.6 MW capacity in North Carolina are online: 1) 2 MW Central Farm 2 in Robeson County; 2) 1.6 MW Innovative Solar 1 & 2 in Buncombe County; and 3) FLS Energy’s 2 MW Taylor Solar Farm in Robeson County. The power generated from these facilities is sold to Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) subsidiary Progress Energy Carolinas under long-term contracts.