Report on PJM outlines status of new, retired power projects in the region

Monitoring Analytics LLC, which serves as the Market Monitoring Unit for PJM Interconnection, said in a report issued Aug 11, 2016 Quarterly State of the Market Report for PJM: January through June, that as of June 30, 83,390.2 MW of capacity were in generation request queues for construction through 2024, compared to an average installed capacity of 191,697.2 MW as of June 30.

Of the capacity in queues, 6,217.8 MW, or 7.4%, are uprates and the rest are new generation. Wind projects account for 15,154.0 MW of nameplate capacity or 18.2% of the capacity in the queues. Combined cycle projects account for 52,993.4 MW of capacity or 69% of the capacity in the queues.

On the other hand, 28.396.0 MW have been, or are planned to be, retired between 2011 and 2020. Of that, 4,238.3 MW are planned to retire after 2016. In the first six months of 2016, 381 MW were retired. Of the 4,238.3 MW pending retirement, 1,109 MW are coal units. The coal unit retirements were a result of low natural gas prices, and the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for some units.

A significant shift in the distribution of unit types within the PJM footprint continues as natural gas-fired units enter the queue and steam units retire. There are 2,007.0 MW of coal-fired steam capacity and 57,552.1 MW of gas-fired capacity are in the queue. The replacement of coal steam units by units burning natural gas will significantly affect future congestion, the role of firm and interruptible gas supply, and natural gas supply infrastructure.

The queue contains a substantial number of projects that are not likely to be built. Excluding currently active projects and projects currently under construction, 2,417 projects, representing 345,621.0 MW, have entered the queue process since its inception. Of those, 646 projects, 45,391.0 MW, went into service. Of the projects that entered the queue process, 86.9% of the MW withdrew prior to completion. Such projects may create barriers to entry for projects that would otherwise be completed by taking up queue positions, increasing interconnection costs and creating uncertainty, the report noted.

In the first six months of 2016, 4,299.2 MW of nameplate capacity went into service in PJM. Also, 12,973.3 MW entered the queue in the first six months of 2016, 11,279.7 MW of which are currently active and 1,693.6 MW of which were withdrawn before the quarter ended. Of the total 52,350.1 MW marked as active at the beginning of the first six months of 2016, 6,005.4 MW were withdrawn, 29.9 MW were suspended, 979.5 MW started construction, and 1.1 MW went into service by the end of the quarter. The Under Construction column shows that 714.6 MW came out of suspension and 979.5 MW began construction in the first six months of 2016, in addition to the 22,694.2 MW of capacity that maintained the status under construction from the previous quarter.

Said the report: “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.” FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) shut the Hatfield (also known as Hatfield’s Ferry) coal plant in  Pennsylvania earlier this decade and has declined to give specifics about what a revived plant will look like.

With respect to retirements, 1,109.0 MW of coal-fired steam capacity and 208.8 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. Also, 28,396 MW have been, or are planned to be, retired between 2011 and 2020. Of that, 4,238.3 MW are planned to retire after 2016. In the first six months of 2016, 381.0 MW were retired. Of the 4,238.3 MW pending retirement, 1,109.0 MW are coal units.

Planned retirement of PJM units as of June 30:

  • Yorktown 1-2, Dominion zone, 323.0 MW, Coal, Steam, deactivate 15-Apr-17;
  • McKee 1-2, DPL zone, 34.0 MW, Heavy Oil, Combustion Turbine, 31-May-17;
  • Hopewell James River Cogen, Dominion zone, 89.0 MW, Coal, Steam ,31-May-17;
  • Will County 4, ComEd zone, 510.0 MW, Coal, Steam, 31-May-18;
  • Sewaren 1-4, PSEG zone, 453.0 MW, Kerosene, Combustion Turbine, 01-Jun-18;
  • Quad Cities 1-2, ComEd zone, 1,819.0 MW, Nuclear, 01-Jun-18;
  • Bayonne Cogen Plant (CC), PSEG zone, 158.0 MW, Natural gas, Steam, 01-Nov-18;
  • MH50 Marcus Hook Co-gen, PECO zone, 50.8 MW, Natural gas, Steam, 13-May-19;
  • Elmer Smith U1, External, 52.0 MW, Coal, Steam, 01-Jun-19;
  • Oyster Creek, JCPL zone, 614.5 MW, Nuclear, 31-Dec-19; and
  • Wagner 2, BGE zone, 135.0 MW, Coal, Steam, 01-Jun-20.
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.