Gas, other capacity being added in PJM, while coal is being subtracted

As of March 31, 2016, 81,936.3 MW of capacity were in generation request queues at PJM Interconnection for construction through 2024, compared to an average installed capacity of 187,281.3 MW as of March 31, said a new PJM market report issued May 12 by Monitoring Analytics LLC, the Independent Market Monitor for PJM.

Although it is clear that not all generation in the queues will be built, PJM has added capacity annually since 2000, the report noted. In the first quarter of 2016, 2,763 MW of nameplate capacity went into service in PJM.

The total MW in queues decreased by 3,386.8 MW, or 4%, from 85,323.1 MW at the end of 2015. The change was the result of 3,575.8 MW in new projects entering the queue, 4,076.7 MW in projects withdrawing, and 2,775.9 MW going into service. The remaining difference is the result of projects adjusting their expected MW.

A total of 3,575.8 MW entered the queue in the first three months of 2016, 3,546.1 MW of which are currently active and 26.7 MW of which were withdrawn before the quarter ended. Of the total 52,350.1 MW marked as active at the beginning of the quarter, 3,788.0 MW were withdrawn, 19.9 MW were suspended, 2,540.5 MW started construction, and 298 MW went into service by the end of the quarter.

As of March 31, 2016, there are 81,936.3 MW of capacity in queues that are not yet in service, of which 6.8% are suspended, 33.2% are under construction and 60.1% have not begun construction.

The report noted: “A significant shift in the distribution of unit types within the PJM footprint continues to develop as natural gas fired units enter the queue and steam units retire. While 56,560.08 MW of gas fired capacity are in the queue, there are only 1,957.0 MW of coal fired steam capacity in the queue. The only new coal project currently in the queue is the new Hatfield unit, with 1,710 MW of capacity. This project, which entered the queue in October 2014 and is already under construction, is intended to replace three coal units retired in October 2013 at the same location.

“With respect to retirements, 1,263.0 MW of coal fired steam capacity and 282.8 MW of natural gas capacity are slated for deactivation between now and 2020. The replacement of coal steam units by units burning natural gas could significantly affect future congestion, the role of firm and interruptible gas supply, and natural gas supply infrastructure.

“26,486.5 MW have been, or are planned to be, retired between 2011 and 2020. Of that, 2,007.3 MW are planned to retire after 2016. In the first three months of 2016, 53 MW were retired. Of the 2,656.8 MW pending retirement, 1,263 MW are coal units. The coal unit retirements were a result of low gas prices and the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for some units.”

Planned retirement of PJM units as of March 31, were:

  • Yorktown Units 1-2, Dominion zone, owned by Virginia Electric and Power, 323 MW, coal, to be retired 31-Mar-16 (notable is that Virginia Electric recently got an EPA nod for a MATS extension to April 2017 for these units for PJM grid reliability needs, so that retirement timeline has changed);
  • Dale 3-4, EKPC zone, owned by East Kentucky Power Cooperative, 149 MW, coal, retired 16-Apr-16;
  • Avon Lake Unit 7, ATSI zone, NRG Energy, 94 MW, coal, retired 16-Apr-16;
  • BL England Diesels, AECO zone, 8 MW, diesel, to be retired 31-May-16;
  • Riverside Unit 4, BGE zone, Exelon owned, 74 MW, natural gas, steam, to be retired 01-Jun-16;
  • Warren County Landfill, JCPL zone, 1.5 MW, landfill gas, to be retired 01-Jun-16;
  • McKee Units 1-2, DPL zone, owned by city of Dover in Delaware, 34 MW, heavy oil, combustion turbine, to be retired 31-May-17;
  • Will County Unit 4, ComEd zone, NRG Energy, 510 MW, coal, to be retired 31-May-18;
  • Sewaren 1-4, PSEG zone, owned by Public Service Enterprise Group, 453 MW, kerosene, combustion turbine, to be retired 01-Jun-18;
  • Bayonne Cogen Plant (CC), PSEG zone, 158 MW, natural gas, steam, to be retired 01-Nov-18;
  • MH50 Marcus Hook Co-gen, PECO zone, NextEra Energy, 50.8 MW, natural gas, steam, to be retired 13-May-19;
  • Elmer Smith U1, External, Owensboro Municipal Utilities, 52 MW, coal, to be retired 01-Jun-19;
  • Oyster Creek, JCPL zone, Exelon, 614.5 MW, nuclear, to be retired 31-Dec-19; and
  • Wagner Unit 2, BGE zone, Talen Energy, 135 MW, coal, to be retired 01-Jun-20.

In the 2011-2020 period, the majority, 77%, of all MW retiring during this period are coal steam units. These units have an average age of 56 years and an average size of 163.1 MW. Over half of them, 53.4%, are located in either Ohio or Pennsylvania. Retirements have generally consisted of smaller subcritical coal steam units and those without adequate environmental controls to remain viable beyond 2016.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.