PJM Interconnection, the largest U.S. power grid operator, faces a serious shortfall in electric generating capacity in coming years as traditional generator retirements outpace additions, according to a new analysis it published this week.
The grid operator forecasts nearly 40 GW of its generating capacity will retire by 2030, representing 21% of the service area’s total capacity, with 90% pf planned retirements in coal and natural gas.
Meanwhile, PJM expects no more than 30 GW of additions over the same period, and as few as 15 GW in its “low entry” scenario.
PJM serves more than 65M consumers between northern Illinois and the Atlantic coast, including all of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Other grid operators, including the neighboring Midcontinent Independent System Operator, face the same potential capacity shortfalls as utilities retire more fossil fuel generation.
Regulators at the North American Electric Reliability Corporation also have warned against retiring traditional generation sources too rapidly or else risk running significant shortages, which could lead to more frequent blackouts in extreme weather.
Utilities are under increasing pressure from the Biden administration and some investors to phase out fossil fuels, with the aim of achieving 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035.
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The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently forecast solar power will comprise more than half of new utility-scale electric generating capacity to be added to the U.S. grid in 2023.