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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for March 2019  |  Release Date: May 24, 2019  |  Next Release Date: June 25, 2019

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Highlights: March 2019

  • Wholesale natural gas prices reached $155/MMBtu in the Northwest (Sumas), the highest U.S. price in at least five years, due to cold weather and pipeline supply constraints.
  • The peak demand day in Southern Company was 8% higher in March 2019 than in February 2019, mainly due to extremely warm temperatures in the region during February, which led to reduced heating demand and thus reduced electricity generation during February.
  • Total U.S. coal stockpiles dropped to 97.1 million tons and continue to be at historically low levels.

Key indicators

Statewide average temperature ranks
Statewide precipitation ranks
Total net generation
Net generation by select fuel sources

U.S. utility-scale battery storage power capacity planned to increase substantially by 2023

As of February 2019, utility-scale battery storage in the United States has reached 866 megawatts (MW) of installed power capacity, according to EIA’s Form EIA-860M, Monthly Update to the Annual Electric Generator Report. Although it is a newer electric power resource, utility-scale battery storage (1 megawatt or greater power capacity) has been growing in recent years. This growth is a result of states developing energy storage related policies, as well as FERC Order 841 that directs Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs) to allow for battery systems to engage in their wholesale energy, capacity, and ancillary services markets. In addition, the pairing of battery storage with intermittent renewable resources, such as wind and solar, has become increasingly competitive compared with traditional generation options.

The two largest operating utility-scale battery storage sites as of February 2019 are 40 MW each: The Golden Valley Battery Energy Storage System in Alaska and the Vista Energy Storage System in California. In the United States, 15 operating battery storage sites have an installed power capacity of 20 MW or greater. Of the 866 MW of installed operating battery storage, California, Illinois, and Texas account for more than 50%, or 438 MW.

U.S. Operating Utility-scale Battery Storage as of February 2019 Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Electric Generator Report and the Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory, February 2019.

Form EIA-860, Annual Electric Generator Report, annually collects data for proposed battery projects scheduled for commercial operation within the next 5 years, while Form EIA-860M collects the updated status of any proposed projects scheduled to come online within 12 months. According to Form EIA-860M, an additional 118 MW of installed power capacity will likely come online by the end of 2019. (Form EIA-860M only collects power capacity for battery systems and does not collect energy capacity.) Of these planned 2019 installations, the largest is the Top Gun Energy Storage facility in California with 30 MW of installed power capacity. As of February 2019, the total planned power capacity currently reported for battery storage through 2023 is 1,184 MW. If these planned facilities come online as scheduled, total U.S. battery storage power capacity would increase significantly by the end of 2023. Additional capacity, beyond what has already been reported, may also be added as future operational dates approach.

U.S. Utility-scale Battery Storage Capacity Additions Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Electric Generator Report and the Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory, February 2019.

Of all planned battery storage projects reported in Form EIA-860M, the largest two sites account for 566 MW and are planned to start commercial operation in 2021. The largest of these planned sites is the Helix Ravenswood facility located in Queens, New York. This site is planned to be developed in three stages, with the first phase consisting of an installed power capacity of up to 129 MW and beginning commercial operation in 2021. The second-largest planned battery storage facility is the Diablo Energy Storage site, with a planned installed power capacity of 250 MW, located in Pittsburg, California. Other planned battery storage systems in the industry have yet to be reported to EIA but are still significant planned capacity additions. One such project is the Florida Power and Light Manatee Energy Storage Center, which plans to begin operation in 2021 with an installed power capacity of 409 MW.

U.S. Utility-scale Cumulative Battery Storage Capacity Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Electric Generator Report and the Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory, February 2019.

Taken cumulatively, these battery storage capacity additions illustrate the rapid growth in this energy storage technology. Operating battery storage capacity has more than quadrupled between 2014 (208 MW) and February 2019 (866 MW). Assuming currently planned additions are completed and no current operating capacity is retired, battery storage power capacity could exceed 2,000 MW by 2023. This figure could conceivably be higher as it does not account for any additional capacity additions not yet reported to EIA that could come online during this period.

Principal Contributor:

Patricia Hutchins

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