New data tool from Berkeley Lab tracks proposed projects in interconnection queues

August 4, 2020

new data visualization from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory synthesizes data from generation interconnection queues to illustrate trends in proposed power plants across time and regions. The data compilation demonstrates considerable developer interest in solar, wind, natural gas, and standalone storage plants, as well as growing interest in so-called “hybrid” plants that combine multiple generation types and/or storage at the point of interconnection.

New large-scale electric generation and storage projects must apply for interconnection to the bulk power system via interconnection queues. While many projects that apply for interconnection are not subsequently built (the completion rate of projects in queues is often below 25%), data from these queues nonetheless provide a general indicator for mid-term trends in developer interest.

Berkeley Lab compiled data from all seven ISOs/RTOs in concert with 30 individual utilities, representing about 80% of all U.S. electricity load. We include all projects in these generation interconnection queues through the end of 2019, excluding projects that had been built, withdrawn, or suspended at that time.

The compilation demonstrates that, on a national basis, developer interest is focused, in descending order, on solar, wind, natural gas, and stand-alone storage plants (see figure below). At least 367 GW of solar was active in the queues at the end of 2019, followed by wind (226 GW), natural gas (77 GW), and stand-alone storage (55 GW). The nuclear, coal, and other categories sum to 8 GW.  

The solar in the queues is distributed widely, but with somewhat more capacity located in the non-ISO West (75 GW), PJM (57 GW), ERCOT (54 GW), MISO (50 GW), Southeast (47 GW) and CAISO (44 GW) (see figure below). The wind capacity in the queues is highest in SPP (57 GW) and the non-ISO West (50 GW), but with sizable amounts (>10 GW) proposed in all regions except the Southeast. Natural gas proposals center on the Southeast (35 GW) and PJM (17 GW), while standalone storage has concentrations in the CAISO (16 GW) and the non-ISO West (15 GW). 

Hybrid power plants are of growing interest, especially solar paired with storage. At least 102 GW of the solar in the queues is proposed as a hybrid plant (28% of all of the solar in the queues), followed distantly by 11 GW of wind proposed as a hybrid (5% of all wind in the queues). The proposed solar+storage plants are located throughout the United States, but with California and the non-ISO West being the most prominent areas of commercial interest. Proposed wind+storage and standalone storage plants also center on these regions of the country (see figure below). 

For additional details, see Berkeley Lab’s new interactive data visualization on interconnection queues.