The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that eight new natural-gas fired combined cycle plants have come online or will come online in 2022, adding 7,775 MW of generating capacity to the U.S. grid. These are according to estimates and data from EIA’s latest Monthly Electric Generator Inventory.

Combined cycle plants are already the single largest source of both electric generating capacity and electricity production in the U.S. According to EIA, combined cycle plant generating capacity is expected to reach almost 290 GW by the end of 2022, or 24% of the nation’s total generating capacity.

As a result, EIA said output from the combined cycle fleet will be positioned to rise from the 1,326,278 GWh it generated in 2021, which represented 32% of total electricity production. Shares of coal-fired (22%) and nuclear (19%) sources ranked second and third in electricity production that year.

The commissioning of 7,775 MW of new combined cycle capacity in 2022 eclipses the previous two years, when 5,002 MW and 3,578 MW were added in 2020 and 2021, respectively. However, gains in 2022 are lower than those recorded from 2017 through 2019.

According to EIA analysis, while combined cycle capacity additions steadily occurred over the past two decades, the 2022 total is about 80% below record capacity additions in 2002 and 2003. About half of the existing U.S. combined cycle fleet currently operating came online between 2000 and 2006.

EIA expects another 4,215 MW of combined cycle plant capacity to be added in 2023, when five new plants are slated to open.

Seven of the eight combined cycle plants opening in 2022 are located in either the upper Midwest or in Florida. In the PJM Interconnection region, three new combined cycle plants are opening in 2022, totaling 3,918 MW of capacity. These additions will help replace 5,346 MW of coal-fired capacity in PJM that is retiring in 2022, followed by another 3,774 MW of coal capacity set to close in 2023.

In Florida, the 2,222 MW of new combined cycle capacity will replace 1,486 MW of coal-fired capacity that is retiring in 2022. In the Michigan portion of the MISO region, the retirement of 1,560 MW of existing coal-fired generating capacity in 2022 will be replaced by 1,403 MW of new combined cycle capacity.

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