Solar power is expected to account for half of the new utility-scale electricity generation produced in the United States in 2022, according to a new report by the Energy Information Administration.
The EIA expects 46.1 gigawatts of new electric generating capacity to be added to the power grid this year. In addition to solar power, natural gas will make up 21% of that generation and wind power will provide 17% of that additional capacity.
Battery storage will also make a huge jump in 2022, growing by 84% compared with 2021.
Renewable energy sources currently add more than 2,250 megawatts generating capacity every month, according to several sources including the EIA, and solar generating capacity will grow by 21.5 GW in 2022. There was 15.5 GW of solar capacity added in 2021.
Most of this year’s solar additions will be in Texas, with 6.1 GW worth 28% of the US’s total, and California, which is expected to add 4 GW of solar generation. One such project in Texas that is expected to go online in 2022 is the 200 MW Big Star Solar Project, which PepsiCo and Best Buy is participating in. The 200 MW facility will include a battery storage system.
Amazon is another company adding renewable energy projects across the country. It has a goal to power its entire operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025 and has added eight renewable projects in the US, including its second battery storage facility. The company now has 62 solar projects in the US.
Wind capacity saw a record-high 17.1 GW come online in 2021, according to the EIA. Another 7.6 GW of wind power is expected to be added this year, most of that in Texas.
The 999 MW Traverse Wind Energy Center in Oklahoma is the largest wind project expected to become operational in 2022, with commercial offerings expected to begin in April. It is one of three wind projects in the region that will serve Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana and cost $2 billion to build, according to the Oklahoman.
Several factors are encouraging battery storage growth, the EIA says. Declining costs of battery storage as well as deploying with renewable energy and adding value through regional transmission organization markets are all playing a role in the platform’s growth.
A new battery storage project in the Dallas area set to be completed in 2022, and will help add 600 MW of capacity to the grid, is an example of the increasing implementation of the power source. Another project in Maryland also launching early this year is being examined for how it can be a part of the region’s ancillary utility services.
In addition to these renewable sources, natural gas is still expected to be a primary source of energy generation, making up 21% of the US capacity. The EIA says there will be an 9.6 GW of new capacity in this area.
Nuclear power will add 5% of the country’s power generation capacity in 2022.