Power Market Status and Trends - US
The installed generation capacity in the US reached 1,197 gigawatts (GW) in 2016 from 1,133 GW in 2010 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1% and is expected to reach 1,562 GW by 2030 at a CAGR of 1.9%. Power demand is expected to reach 4,222 terawatt hours (TWh) by 2030 or 13% of the global share at a CAGR of 1%. In addition 316,000 megawatts (MW) capacity is under different phases of development of which 96 GW is under construction and more than 219 GW capacity is pending approval (APPA Report, 2017). The overall capacity mix is likely to change in the future as no new coal-fired plants are in-line and traditional forms of energy are to be gradually replaced by wind, solar, and other forms of renewable energy.
The most remarkable feature of the US power market of late is that of natural gas overtaking coal as the main source of electricity generation since April 2015 and presently contributing 43% of the energy mix with an installed capacity of 525 GW as of 2017. The share is likely to increase more as the majority of projects in the pipeline are to be run on natural gas. This significant transition is mainly due to increased shale gas production since 2008, due to improved drilling technology, resulting in reduced prices. Other advantages of gas-based power plants such as the ability to increase or decrease output at a short notice, lower capital costs, reduced emissions, and lower water requirement compared to coal-based power plants have actively contributed to this transition.