Solar to make up half of new generating capacity in 2022

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says nearly half of planned capacity additions in 2022 will be solar energy resources.

EIA said it expects 46.1 GW of new utility-scale generating capacity to be added to the U.S. power grid this year. Around 21.5 GW (46%) of that would be from solar projects, 9.6 GW (21%) from natural gas projects and 7.6 GW (17%) from wind additions. EIA said it expects an additional 5.1 GW (11%) to come from energy storage projects.

The agency says another 5% of the country’s planned electric capacity additions in 2022 will come from two new reactors at the Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia. One of these reactors, Unit 3, was delayed until June 2022 to allow additional time for construction and testing. The long-delayed project has repeatedly increased its project cost.

EIA’s numbers on capacity additions come from monthly and annual reports submitted by developers and power plant operators. In those surveys, EIA asked developers to provide dates for generators coming online in the next five years.

Breaking down the numbers

The 21.5 GW of solar expected to come online in 2022 surpasses last year’s 15.5 GW. EIA based this estimate on reported additions through October 2021, as well as anticipated additions over the final two months of 2021. Most 2022 solar additions are expected to be in Texas (6.1 GW or 28% of the total), followed by California (4 GW or 18%).

EIA said it expects 7.6 GW of wind capacity to come online in 2022. That would be less than half the record-high 17.1 GW that came online in 2021. About half (51%) of the 2022 wind capacity additions are in Texas. The 999 MW Traverse Wind Energy Center in Oklahoma, the largest wind project expected to come online in 2022, is scheduled to begin operating in April.

Of the 9.6 GW of expected new natural gas-fired capacity, combined-cycle plants represent 8.1 GW (more than 84%) of the total, with combustion plants accounting for 1.4 GW. Around 88% of the planned natural gas capacity additions are located in Ohio, Florida, Michigan and Illinois.