Clean power report shows slow growth

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The American Clean Power Association’s Clean Power Market Report Q1 showed that wind, utility-scale solar, and battery storage sectors installed 6,619 MW of utility-scale clean power capacity – enough to power 1.4 million American homes. The record capacity is largely due to gains in battery storage installation, with storage installations up 173 percent, solar installations up 11 percent, and wind installations down 3 percent, as compared to the first quarter of 2021.

Traverse Wind Energy Center in Oklahoma is one of the largest projects to come online in the first quarter. (Courtesy: American Electric Power)

While these gains contributed to a record first quarter for clean power installations, the rate of growth slowed to 11 percent in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the 50 percent year-over-year growth rate reported between 2019 and 2021.

“The record-breaking quarter for clean power is encouraging, but the industry still faces many hurdles that are stalling growth,” said ACP CEO Heather Zichal. “Ongoing uncertainty from the Department of Commerce’s unwarranted solar tariff case, the unsettled fate of clean energy tax credits, supply chain issues and inflation are all making investment and planning decisions a difficult challenge.

The industry needs resolution and policy clarity if we are to meet the Biden administration’s clean power goals of reaching a net zero grid by 2035.”

Cumulatively, operating clean-power capacity in the country is now nearly 208 GW — enough to power 57 million homes in America. The 90 new projects added to the grid represent $9.3 billion in capital investments.

Growth in battery storage helped to propel the first quarter to record territory. Storage capacity additions grew 173 percent compared to the first quarter of 2021.

The Q1 report shows 56 new utility-scale solar projects came online in 2021, for a total of 2,997 MW; 10 new wind projects came online, totaling 2,865 MW.

Finally, the industry installed 24 new battery storage projects with a total capacity of 758 MW/2,537 MWh.

While the industry sits on a record volume of clean-power capacity in the pipeline, the rate of growth of that pipeline is also slowing. The pipeline grew by just 4 percent during the first quarter — much lower than the 12 percent quarterly expansion experienced throughout 2021. The largest projects to come online in the first quarter include:

  • Traverse Wind Energy Center in Oklahoma owned by AEP and developed by Invenergy (998 MW).
  • Slate Solar + Storage in Kings County, California was the largest hybrid project (300 MW of solar capacity and 140 MW/561 MWh of battery storage capacity).
  • Valley Center Battery Storage Project, owned and developed by Terra-Gen, in California (140 MW battery system with 560 MWh of energy storage capacity).

More info cleanpower.org