New power installation still running well behind 2013 levels

Construction of new natural gas plants, and other forms of electric generating capacity, is continuing to lag behind 2013 levels, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Only one natural gas plant, the Black Hills (NYSE: BKH) Cheyenne Prairie project in Laramie County, Wyo., came online during the month of October, according to the monthly Energy Infrastructure Update from FERC’s Office of Energy Projects. The power generated from Cheyenne Prairie replaces much of the lost power of the company’s three old coal-fired plants that were closed.

October was a good month, however for wind generation (574 MW) and biomass (102 MW), FERC reported. Several solar facilities also came online during the month.

Through the first 10 months of 2013 there has been 5,373 MW of new natural gas power capacity commissioned. That’s behind the mark from the same point last year when 6,647 MW of new gas capacity had been installed.

Overall installation of new power generation is also lagging behind the 2013 pace by more than 2,600 MW. FERC reported that 9,903 MW of new capacity has been installed through the end of October whereas 12,532 MW was installed in the first 10 months of 2013.

October is a big month for major wind projects

Several wind power projects came online in the West and Midwest during October, according to the FERC update. The new wind projects include:

  • Limon Wind III LLC’s 201 MW Limon Wind Energy Center Phase II Expansion project in Lincoln County, CO is online. The 400 MW Phase I came online in October 2012. Limon Wind Energy Center now has 601 MW of total capacity. The power generated is sold to Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) under long-term contract.
  • Nemaha Wind Farm LLC’s 129 MW Nemaha Wind project in Nemaha County, KS is online.
  • CMS Energy (NYSE:CMS) subsidiary Consumers Energy’s 105 MW Cross Winds Energy Park project in Tuscola County, MI is online.
  • Broken Bow Wind II LLC’s 75 MW Broken Bow Wind Expansion project in Custer County, NE is online. The 80 MW Phase I came online in October 2012. Broken Bow Wind now has 155 MW of total capacity. The power generated is sold to Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) under long-term contract.
  • Windthorst II LLC’s 69 MW Windthorst II Wind project in Archer County, Texas is online.

In addition to the wind power additions, there were also some solar, biomass and landfill-fueled generating units that came online during October. They include:

  • CED White River Solar II LLC’s 19 MW SPS White River Solar II Expansion project in Tulare County, CA is online. The 22 MW Phase I came online in July 2013. SPS White River now has 41 MW total capacity. The power generated is sold to Pacific Gas and Electric under long-term contract.
  • Claire Solar Partners LLC’s 2.2 MW Claire Solar Farm project in Chittenden County, VT is online. The power generated is sold to Vermont Electric Power Producers Inc. under long-term contract.
  • East Texas Electric Coop. Inc.’s 50 MW Woodville Biomass project in Tyler County, Texas is online. Woodville Biomass is fueled by forestry products.
  • US Army Fort Drum’s 28 MW US Army Fort Drum Biomass project in Jefferson County, NY is online. Fort Drum Biomass is fueled by forestry products.
  • Sunshine Gas Producers LLC’s 23.5 MW LFG-fired Sunshine Canyon Landfill project in Los Angeles County, CA is online. The power generated is sold to Pacific Gas and Electric under long-term contract.
  • Dynamic Energy Solution’s 2 MW Skidmore College Solar project in Saratoga County, NY is online. The power generated is used onsite at the campus.
  • NRG Energy’s (NYSE:NRG) 5.1 MW Mandalay Bay (MGM) Solar II Expansion project in Clark County, NV in online. Mandalay Bay now has 6.6 MW of total capacity. The power generated is used on-site at the MGM Resort and Casino.
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.