The US Power industry is undergoing a series of substantial changes.
These changes pertain to sources of power, power added and retired.
The matrix of changes is an indicator of what the future will be for the US power industry.
Statistics in a nutshell on trending Energy Sectors in US :
- Conventional Steel coal type of plants retired or due to retire in the period 2015 to 2016 – 16,581 MW.
- Petroleum liquids which possibly means the heavy fuel based power plants retired or due to retire in the period 2015 to 2016 – 1,030 MW.
- On the other hand, 14,435 MW of natural gas fired combined with cycle power plants were added.
- More interesting, onshore wind turbines, Nuclear Industry and Solar Photovoltaic have added 17,077 MW, 1,269 MW and 8,472 MW respectively.
The important points to note are, the alternate power sources such as wind and solar have added approximately 25,000 MW. Natural gas is replacing coal in a very big way. It is said that a Natural gas power plant CAPEX is 50% and OPEX is also 50% of a coal plant. No wonder 16,581 MW of coal plant is being retired.
What about the future?
In the US, coal plants will continue to retire thereby providing sufficient space for Natural gas, Solar and Wind energy to step in.
A similar scenario doesn’t exist in other countries like India and China, who wish to go for more coal plants with the support of latest emission control devices. In contrast to US, they do not have enough cost effective sources of natural gas.