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New electric generating capacity in 2020 will come primarily from wind and solar


According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest inventory of electric generators, EIA expects 42 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity additions to start commercial operation in 2020. Solar and wind represent almost 32 GW, or 76%, of these additions. Wind accounts for the largest share of these additions at 44%, followed by solar and natural gas at 32% and 22%, respectively. The remaining 2% comes from hydroelectric generators and battery storage.

Wind. Operators have scheduled 18.5 GW of wind capacity to come online in 2020, surpassing the record level of 13.2 GW set in 2012. More than 60%, or 11.2 GW, of wind capacity is scheduled to come online at the end of the year, in November and December of 2020. Expiration of the U.S. production tax credit (PTC) at the end of 2020 is driving the large wind capacity addition. EIA expects will total 11.8 GW. Five states account for more than half of the 2020 planned wind capacity additions. Texas accounts for 32%; followed by Oklahoma at 6%; then Wyoming, Colorado, and Missouri at 5% each.

Solar photovoltaics. EIA expects 13.5 GW of solar capacity to come online in 2020, surpassing the previous annual record addition of 8 GW in 2016.

Natural gas. Planned natural gas capacity additions for 2020 are 9.3 GW. Combined-cycle plants account for 6.7 GW and combustion-turbine plants account for 2.3 GW. More than 70% of these additions are in Pennsylvania, Texas, California, and Louisiana.