The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) says it expects nearly 32 gigawatts (GW) of electric generating capacity to come online in the United States in 2018, more than in any year over the past decade.

Renewables such as wind and solar accounted for 98 percent of the 2 GW added as of the end of February. EIA says it expects about 21 GW of natural gas-fired generators to come online in 2018. If that happens, 2018 will be the first year since 2013 in which renewables did not make up a majority of added capacity.

Source: EIASource: EIAIn 2017, renewables accounted for 55 percent of the 21 GW of U.S. capacity additions. That was the fourth consecutive year in which renewables made up more than half. As of February 2018, renewables accounted for 22 percent of total U.S. electricity generating capacity.

The newly added generating capacity in January and February 2018 included 2,029 megawatts (MW) of renewables, 27 MW of fossil fueled generators, and 28 MW of other technologies, mostly consisting of energy storage batteries. In February 2018, for the first time in decades, all of the new generating capacity coming online within a month were non-fossil-fueled. Of the 475 MW of capacity that came online in February, 81 percent was wind, 16 percent was solar photovoltaic and the remaining 3 percent was hydro and biomass.

One wind energy project moving ahead in 2018 is the 161.3 MW Pine River Wind Energy Center in Michigan. Invenergy, the developer, said in early May that it completed construction financing for the project. Rabobank, Nord/LB and SMBC acted as joint lead arrangers for the construction loan.

Pine River is currently under construction with 65 turbines, and is scheduled to begin commercial operation before the end of 2018. Upon completion, ownership of the facility will be transferred to DTE Energy, a Detroit-based utility.

EIA says that about half of the 21 GW of natural gas-fired generation capacity it expects to come online by the end of 2018 are combined-cycle units to be added to the PJM Regional Transmission Organization, which spans parts of several Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states. In PJM, Pennsylvania plans to add 5.2 GW; Maryland will add 1.9 GW; and Virginia will add 1.9 GW.

Most of the 1,196 MW of new wind capacity that came online in January and February 2018 was added in states that already have significant wind capacity such as Texas, Oklahoma and Iowa. EIA says that in Texas, two utility-scale batteries totaling 20 MW were sited at wind facilities. EIA expects 5 GW of capacity to come online by the end of 2018.

By the end of 2018, 4 GW of solar photovoltaic generating capacity are expected to come online in the United States. More than half of the 2018 solar PV additions will be added in California, North Carolina and Texas.

Looking ahead, natural gas appears to be the dominant choice for new fossil-fired generating capacity. For example, in October 2017 the Ohio Power Siting Board authorized construction of natural gas-fired, combined cycle generation facilities that will add more than 1,950 MW of generating capacity in the heart of coal country.

Guernsey Power Station, LLC will construct the 1,100 MW Guernsey Power Station. The developer plans to build a natural gas pipeline that would supply the facility from the Tallgrass Energy Partners Rockies Express Pipeline. The facility will interconnect to a 765 kilovolt (kV) electric transmission line owned by American Electric Power. Work on the power plant began in December 2017 and the facility is expected to begin commercial operation by late 2020.