EIA Predicts Solar Will Make Up Half of New U.S. Electric Generating Capacity in 2022

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration‘s (EIA) Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory report, 46.1 GW of new utility-scale electric generating capacity will be added to the U.S. power grid in 2022 – and almost half of the capacity additions will be solar.

In its monthly and annual electric generator surveys, developers and owners of power plants report plans to add to EIA. EIA asked respondents for their plans for online generators in the next five-years. Based on the reported in-service dates, the monthly survey tracks generators’ status.

EIA predicts that U.S. utility scale solar generating capacity will increase by 21.5GW by 2022. This planned new capacity would surpass last year’s 15.5 GW of solar capacity additions – an estimate based on reported additions through October (8.7 GW) and additions scheduled for the last two months of 2021 (6.9 GW).

The largest planned solar additions for 2022 will be in Texas (6.1GW, or 28%). California (4.0GW) is next.

EIA projects that 9.6GW of new natural-gas-fired capacity will come online by 2022. Combined-cycle plants account to 8.1 GW (more than 84%) of the planned capacity additions, while combustion-turbine plants account to 1.4 GW. Nearly all (88%) the planned natural gas capacity is located within Ohio, Florida and Michigan.

The United States saw a record-breaking 17.1 GW in wind capacity come online in 2021. EIA based the estimate on reported additions from October (9.9 GW) as well as planned additions in November (7.2 GW). In 2022, another 7.6GW of wind capacity will be available online. Texas is home to 51 percent of the 2022 wind capacity increases. The Traverse Wind Energy Center in Oklahoma, a 999 MW wind project, is due to start commercial operations in April.

EIA predicts that U.S. utility-scale storage capacity for battery storage will grow by 5.1GW (84%), in 2022. There are many factors that have contributed to the expansion of U.S. battery storage. These include declining battery storage costs, the deployment of battery storage with renewable energy, and the value added by regional transmission organizations (RTO) markets.

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 expected to come online in 2021, but the unit’s planned start date was delayed until June 2022 to allow additional time for construction and testing.