US to boost current natural gas capacity 6% by 2025 – but why?


Between 2022 and 2025, 27.3 gigawatts (GW) of new natural gas-fired capacity is scheduled to come online in the US, boosting its existing capacity of 489.1 GW as of August 2021, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Here’s where it’s headed.

US natural gas boost

Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania account for a combined 43% of the natural gas-fired capacity that’s planned to come online between 2022 and 2025. Those states have pipeline access to the fossil fuel in the Appalachia region’s Marcellus and Utica shale plays that spread across Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

According to the US Department of Energy, a shale gas play is:

A set of discovered, undiscovered or possible natural gas accumulations that exhibit similar
geological characteristics. Shale plays are located within basins, which are large-scale geologic depressions, often hundreds of miles across, which also may contain other oil and natural gas resources.

Of those four states tapping into the Appalachian shale plays, Illinois has the most natural gas-fired capacity additions (3.8 GW), followed by Michigan (3.2 GW), Ohio (2.9 GW), and Pennsylvania (1.9 GW).

Florida is also planning to bring 3.2 GW of capacity online between 2022 and 2025. It pipes the fossil fuel from out of state:

Five new natural gas-fired plants plan to start commercial operations in Florida between 2022 and 2025: three plants are currently under construction, and two plants are not yet under construction but are scheduled to be completed by 2024.

Meanwhile, more natural gas is produced in Texas than any other state. The EIA writes:

Most of its natural gas production comes from the Haynesville and Eagle Ford formations and multiple shale formations in the Permian Basin. As of August, 70.7 GW of natural gas-fired capacity is currently operating in Texas, and another 2.8 GW of capacity additions is planned to come online between 2022 and 2025.

Electrek‘s take

We know that drilling for the polluting fossil fuel is being ramped up because of higher prices and resurgent demand, but this ultimately makes no sense in the long term.

Methane is the primary component of natural gas, and as of November 4, more than 100 countries promised to cut methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030 at COP26.

It particularly doesn’t make sense in Illinois, which just passed the historic Climate and Equitable Jobs Act in September. That law dictates that all of the state’s fossil fuel plants be shut down by 2045. So why is Illinois still planning to add 3.8 GW in the next three years? Why not scrap that and focus on renewables, which cost less for consumers to boot?

Further, Florida Power & Light intends to collect an additional $810 million from customers in 2022 because of higher-than-expected natural gas costs. This is not only bad for the environment, it isn’t sensible business, either.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Read more: Illinois to shut all fossil fuel plants by 2045 and invest $580M a year in renewables


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