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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for October 2019  |  Release Date: Dec. 23, 2019  |  Next Release Date: Jan. 27, 2020

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Highlights: October 2019

Key indicators

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

New England relies more on net electricity inflow and renewable resources to meet demand than a decade ago

Over the past decade, New England electricity consumption has remained relatively flat, but regional electricity generation has declined faster than any other U.S. census division. Because of declining electricity generation, New England now relies more on electricity generated outside of the region. As net electricity inflow has increased, the mix of energy resources used to generate electricity within the region has also shifted from coal, nuclear, and petroleum to renewable resources. A significant portion of the new renewable electricity is from wind and solar, including small scale units less than 1 megawatt (MW).

New England total electricity consumption declined at an annual average rate of 0.2%, and electricity generated by power plants located in the region declined at an annual average rate of 1.5%. These calculations account for the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) small scale solar estimates. Net electricity inflow into New England from power plants located in other states or in Canada grew at an average annual rate of 11% and more than doubled over the past decade from 10.6 million megawatthours (MWh) in 2008 to 23.9 million MWh in 2018. Most of the inflow was from Hydro-Quebec in Canada, a system which generates electricity from primarily renewable resources.

Power plants located within New England generated 18.6 million MWh less electricity in 2018 than in 2008. Generation from coal declined the most in New England, followed by generation from nuclear and petroleum. In 2018, coal generation was 17.8 million MWh lower than its 2008 level, declining at an annual average rate of 21%. Nuclear generation declined 4.2 million MWh from its 2008 level, reflecting an annual average 3% decline. Natural gas generation remained relatively flat, growing at an annual average rate of 0.5%.

New England net electricity inflows and net generation by energy source Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-923, Power Plant Operations Report, small scale solar estimates, and State Electricity Profiles.

Note: Net electricity inflow includes net interstate trade and net imports from Canada. Renewable energy includes conventional hydroelectric, wind, solar (utility and small scale), wood, and other biomass.

Growth in renewable electricity has also helped meet demand, and renewable electricity generation in New England has increased, on average, 2.7% per year over the past decade. Solar generation contributed the most to this growth, including 1.2 million MWh from utility scale units with capacity of at least 1 MW and 3.0 million MWh from small scale units. EIA began estimating small scale unit generation in 2014. Generation from wind turbines also increased significantly from 0.2 million MWh in 2008 to 3.6 million MWh in 2018. Generation from other renewable resources in New England declined, on average, 1.6% each year. Regional generation from water, wood, and other biomass was 2.8 million MWh lower in 2018 than it was in 2008.

New England net electricity generation from renewable resources Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-923, Power Plant Operations Report and small scale solar estimates.

Combined, renewable energy resources accounted for 13% of generation from power plants in New England during 2008 and rose to 20% in 2018. Renewable energy’s share of total regional electricity generation is slightly less than half of natural gas’s share. Wind and solar generation within the region, including small scale solar, accounted for 7% of generation in 2018, which is about double the shares of coal, petroleum, and other generation resources combined.

The electricity resource mix also differs on a capacity basis. The share of regional renewable electricity is slightly higher when calculated based on installed capacity. The natural gas share is slightly lower on a capacity than generation basis. Nuclear energy’s share on a capacity basis is much lower than on a generation basis because of the high utilization of nuclear power plants. The share of capacity from coal, petroleum, and other resources was 24% in 2018, higher than its 3% share of regional generation, reflecting the low utilization of these plants.

New England net electricity generation from renewable resources Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-923, Power Plant Operations Report and small scale solar estimates.

Note: Includes utility scale units for 2008 and 2018, and small scale solar estimates for 2018.

New England net electricity generation from renewable resources Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860, Annual Electric Generator Report and small scale solar estimates.

Notes:
Includes utility scale units for 2008 and 2018, and small scale solar estimates for 2018.
Shares many not total to 100% due to independent rounding.

According to EIA’s Electric Power Monthly, an additional 1,224 MW of utility-scale renewable electricity capacity is expected to be added in New England over the next four years. The planned capacity includes 800 MW of offshore wind, 121 MW of onshore wind, 253 MW of utility scale solar, and 51 MW of biomass. Other capacity additions include 751 MW of natural gas-fired electricity generation and 222 MW of battery storage.

New England utility-scale generating units planned to come online from October 2019 to September 2020 Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly, December 2019

Principal Contributor:

Stacy Angel
(Stacy.Angel@eia.gov)

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