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 MW of electric generating capacity to the grid, based on estimates and data from the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The eight projects reverse four years of decline in CCGT plant start-ups. EIA said it expects CCGT electric generating capacity to reach almost 290 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.

Credit: EIA

CCGT plants use both a natural gas and a steam turbine. EIA said that output from the CCGT fleet will likely rise from the 1,326,278 GWh it generated in 2021, which was 32% of total electricity generation. Shares of coal-fired generation (22%) ranked second, and nuclear sources (19%) ranked third.

About half of the existing U.S. CCGT fleet entered service between 2000 and 2006. Although annual capacity additions have risen steadily during the past two decades, EIA said this year’s additions are about 80% below the record 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 that is retiring, followed by another 3,774 MW of coal capacity set to retire in 2023.

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 1,560 MW of existing coal-fired generating capacity that will retire this year.

EIA said it expects 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.

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