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November 4, 2022

U.S. electric-generating capacity for combined-cycle natural gas turbines is growing

U.S. annual capacity additions from combined-cycle natural gas turbine plants
Data source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Electric Generator Inventory, Short-Term Energy Outlook

Eight new natural gas-fired combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plants have come online or will come online in the United States this year. These new plants will add 7,775 megawatts (MW) of electric-generating capacity to the U.S. electric grid, based on our estimates and data from our latest Monthly Electric Generator Inventory. These eight projects reverse four years of decline in CCGT plant start-ups. We expect CCGT electric-generating capacity to reach almost 290 gigawatts (GW) by year-end, or 24% of total U.S. generating capacity.

CCGT plants are one of four major sources of natural gas-fired power generation and the single largest source of both electric-generating capacity and electricity generation. CCGT plants use both a natural gas and a steam turbine. Output from the U.S. CCGT fleet will likely rise from the 1,326,278 gigawatthours (GWh) it generated in 2021, which was 32% of total electricity generation last year. Shares of coal-fired generation (22%) ranked second, and nuclear sources (19%) ranked third in terms of electric-generating capacity and electricity generation in 2021.

About half of the existing U.S. CCGT fleet currently operating entered service between 2000 and 2006. Although annual additions of CCGT capacity have risen steadily during the past two decades, the additions this year are about 80% below the record CCGT capacity additions in 2002 and 2003.

Seven of the eight CCGT plants opening this year are located either in the upper Midwest or in Florida. The new plants are being built in these areas to meet rising demand for electricity and to replace retiring coal-fired power plants.

U.S. combined-cycle natural gas turbine plants coming online in 2022
Data source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Electric Generator Inventory, and Hitachi Energy - Velocity Suite

In the PJM Interconnection region, three new CCGT plants are opening this year, totaling 3,918 MW of capacity. These additions will help replace the 5,346 MW of coal-fired capacity in PJM that is retiring this year, followed by another 3,774 MW of coal capacity set to retire next year.

In Florida, the 2,222 MW of new CCGT capacity will replace 1,486 MW of coal-fired capacity retiring this year. In Michigan (in the MISO region), 1,403 MW of new CCGT capacity will replace the 1,560 MW of existing coal-fired generating capacity that will retire this year.

We expect 4,215 MW of CCGT capacity will be added in 2023, when five new plants are slated to open. All of those facilities are currently under construction, and we expect operations to begin before the end of 2023.

Principal contributor: Mark Morey