U.S. EIA energy outlook 2015: Up to 70 GW of solar generation capacity could be installed through 2040

EIA’s forecast for solar energy capacity additions 2014–2040 range from 34 GW (low economic growth) to 70 GW (high economic growth). Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2015
EIA’s forecast for solar energy capacity additions 2014–2040 range from 34 GW (low economic growth) to 70 GW (high economic growth). Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2015

In the coming decades, additions to U.S. electricity generation capacity are expected to be lower than in the recent past, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)'s latest Annual Energy Outlook 2015.

In EIA's reference case, which reflects current laws and policies and does not include EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan, US total generating capacity (including end-use generators like rooftop solar PV panels) will increase from 1,065 gigawatts (GW) in 2013 to 1,261 GW in 2040.

 

Wind and solar energy supported by federal tax incentives, renewable portfolio standards

The amount of capacity added is more than three times the amount that is expected to retire, with 287 GW added and 90 GW retired.

Capacity additions through 2017, much of which are under construction, average about 17 GW per year and about half are non-hydro renewable plants (mainly wind and solar) prompted by federal tax incentives and renewable portfolio standards.

From 2018 to 2024, projected capacity additions average less than 4 GW per year, as earlier planned additions are sufficient to meet most growth in electricity demand. From 2025 to 2040, average annual capacity additions - primarily natural gas-fired and renewable technologies - average 12 GW per year.

By comparison, annual additions from 2000 to 2013 averaged 26 GW per year. Natural gas-fired plants account for 58% of the capacity additions through 2040, while renewables provide 38% of the additions, and nuclear 3%.

 

Reference case expects 31 GW of solar PV capacity to be deployed through 2040

Renewable additions are aided in the near term by federal tax credits, and in the longer term by rising natural gas prices and state renewable targets. The 109 GW of renewable capacity additions in the reference case are primarily wind (49 GW) and solar (48 GW) technologies, including 31 GW of solar photovoltaic (PV) installations from rooftop and other distributed generation installations.

Further Information: EIA Annual Energy Outlook 2015

 

2015-05-12 | Courtesy: US EIA | solarserver.com © Heindl Server GmbH

Our editorial selection of breaking solar news is published at:
http://www.solarserver.com/solar-magazine/solar-news/top-solar-news.html