This year, 13 GW of natural gas-fired generating capacity is set to come online in the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). More than 90% of these operations are combined-cycle power plants, with two of them already put into service this year.
On March 14, Competitive Power Ventures announced that the St. Charles Energy Center in Charles County, Maryland, came online. It can generate 725 MW of power using two gas turbines (205 MW each) and one steam turbine (316 MW). The other station – the Polk Power Station near Tampa, Florida – received a 460 MW expansion, with four natural gas-fired combustion turbines converted into a combined-cycle unit. The expansion was completed on Jan. 16.
The two largest combined-cycle power plants set for completion this year will be in service before the summer months, the EIA said. The first is the 1100 MW Paradise plant in Drakesboro, Kentucky, which will be operational in April and replace two of three older Paradise Fossil coal-fired units. The second is the Wildcat Point facility in Cecil County, Maryland, which will come online in June. The 1000 MW plant sits adjacent to the Rock Springs Generation Facility, a 672 MW natural gas peaking operating.
Less than 2 GW of natural gas-fired generating capacity will be retired this year, with 1.7 GW coming from older steam turbines, the EIA said. In 2016, 8.9 GW of natural gas-fired generating capacity was added, and 4.3 GW was retired (4.1 GW steam turbine), with a net gain of 4.6 GW. The total end-of-2016 natural gas-fired capacity was 431 GW.