Each year APPA publishes a report on new generating capacity. The report summarizes new capacity by fuel type, region, and owner type. The latest report is now available at the Electric Power Statistics page of APPA’s website at this link (scroll to APPA Report on Projected New Generating Capacity). While there you can also download previous reports.
The latest report shows that trends in new capacity are the same as they have been for the previous few years. Wind and natural gas continue to be the dominant fuel sources for most new capacity that is either being built or has been permitted to build. Nuclear and solar capacity continue to make strides as the share of coal capacity diminishes. While the amount of capacity at the proposed stage of development suggests a larger variety of other sources of electricity in the future, this capacity – particularly the renewable capacity – is less certain to be built.
The report also features tables on existing capacity, recent capacity additions, retirements, planned retirements, and cancellations. Taken together, these tables provide a hint at what the fuel mix in the United States is going to look like a decade from now. While a large amount of natural gas capacity has been retired over the past few years, and will be retired from now until 2020, the amount retired has been replaced (and will be replaced) several times over by natural gas capacity additions. On the other hand, coal capacity will not be replaced at nearly the same rate. Considering the amount of natural gas capacity already in existence, the amount slated to come on-line in the near future, and the propensity of planned natural gas additions to actually come on-line (see the chart on capacity additions and cancellations by fuel type on page 21), it is clear that natural gas will be the major source for electric capacity in the immediate future.
Fuel prices, environmental regulations, new legislation, technological innovations, and other factors will certainly influence future capacity development, and it is quite possible that things may shift in a direction we cannot foresee at this time. That being said, while renewable and other newer forms of generation are gaining firmer footholds in America’s fuel portfolio, it will likely be some time before they constitute a large share of overall capacity.