Developers and power plant owners plan to start commercial operations of 39.7 gigawatts (GW) of new electricity generating capacity in 2021, the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest inventory of electricity generators announced Monday.
According to the announcement, solar energy will account for the largest share of new capacity at 39%, followed by wind at 31%.
Solar is expected to contribute largely in 2021 with a record-breaking 15.4GW of utility-scale solar capacity additions set for grid connection.
This new capacity will surpass last year’s nearly 12 GW increase, based on reported additions through October with 6 GW and scheduled additions for the last two months of 2020 at 5.7 GW.
"About 3% of the new capacity will come from the new nuclear reactor at the Vogtle power plant in Georgia," the EIA said.
Another 12.2 GW of wind capacity is scheduled to come online in 2021.
"Last year, 21 GW of wind came online, based on reported additions through October (6.0 GW) and planned additions in November and December (14.9 GW). Texas and Oklahoma account for more than half of the 2021 wind capacity additions," the statement read.
The largest wind project coming online in 2021 will be the 999-megawatt (MW) Traverse wind farm in Oklahoma.
In addition to wind and solar installations, the EIA expects the capacity of utility-scale battery storage to more than quadruple, as the addition of 4.3 GW of battery power is to come online by the end of 2021.
The rapid growth of wind and solar and renewables, in general, is a major driver in the expansion of battery capacity because battery storage systems are increasingly paired with renewables.
"The world's largest solar-powered battery (409 MW) is under construction at the Manatee Solar Energy Center in Florida; the battery is scheduled to be operational by late 2021," the administration said.
By Gulsen Cagatay