T&D World Minute with Rick Bush: Future of Generation

Today I am going to share insights from a FERC update on where generation is headed over the next three years. This information was forwarded to me by Ken Bossong with Sun Day.

We all know that coal and nuclear are having troubles. The FERC update suggests that coal could have a decline in 2018 of 6.6% or about 18,700 MW by December 2020. Similarly nuclear output is expected to drop by 2.2% or about 2,300 MW.

So with flat or low growth, where will we make up for the losses?

The story is more promising in gas generation. Natural gas capacity is expected to increase by 15.8 % by December 2020 with the retirement of 11,000 MW of gas capacity more than offset by an additional 92,000 MW of gas fired generation.

Also promising is growth in renewables. Proposed net additions to generating capacity by utility-scale wind and solar could effectively double the output by adding 73,000 MW in wind with grid scale solar coming in at 44,000 MW.

Of course we T&D types need to track changes in the generation mix because we need to make sure that this generation gets to the markets. Some of the natural gas plants are being located closer to the load which requires adjustments to transmission whether new or upgraded transmission. And maybe a third of the transmission miles being built today is to reach new solar and wind generating facilities.

This has been a T&D Minute.

Editor’s note: The latest 6-page issue of FERC's "Energy Infrastructure Update" was released on January 3, 2018 and can be found at: https://www.ferc.gov/legal/staff-reports/2017/nov-energy-infrastructure.pdf


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