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Near term continues to favor natural gas, APPA says in report on new generation

From the February 7, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published February 7, 2013

By Jeannine Anderson

Natural gas is likely to continue to be the dominant fuel source in the next decade or so, APPA says in a report on new generating capacity. Renewable forms of energy "will not constitute a large share of overall capacity until at least the next decade," said the report, A Look at America’s New Generating Capacity: 2013 Update.

This is APPA’s seventh annual report on new generating capacity, focusing on the fuel type and location of the new capacity. This year, it has new sections on plant cancellations, capacity additions over the last five years, and planned retirements, said APPA Research Analyst Paul Zummo, who wrote the report.

From 2008 through 2012, more than 110,000 megawatts of capacity were added, according to the report. However, more than twice that amount -- 215,826 megawattts -- were canceled during those five years.

More than 391,000 megawatts of new capacity are under some degree of development, the report said. Nearly 40 percent (34,000 MW) of the 85,000 MW of capacity under construction or permitted are natural gas-fired plants. 

The share of coal-fired capacity continues to diminish, and coal now represents less than 4 percent (14,000 MW) of all potential new capacity in the United States, Zummo wrote. "Five primary fuel sources account for approximately 92 percent of potential new capacity: natural gas, wind, solar, hydro, and nuclear."
Approximately 20 gigawatts, or 20,000 MW of generating capacity, are added to the U.S. electric grid each year, the report said. "The fuel mix for this capacity has shifted over time, but the general trend has been toward wind and natural gas. Though environmental pressures have reduced the amount of coal-fired capacity being planned, it also remains an important fuel source for all capacity in this country. In light of the fact that a large amount of planned capacity is never built, the fuel mix of capacity in the United States will change, but do so gradually."

The report is posted on APPA's website. Zummo offers some introductory remarks in his blog on the Hub, APPA's online discussion forum.


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Senior Vice President, Publishing 
Jeanne Wickline LaBella

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