In 2015, 40% of electricity generated by power plants was done in deregulated energy market areas (such as California and Texas). In these areas there is competition in generation that tries to incentivize the production of energy from the cheapest fuel resource.
The electric system in these deregulated areas are managed by non-profit organization called independent system operators (ISOs) who make sure the grid can operate reliably 24/7. When a new power plant wants to operate in these areas they request connection with the ISO and if they pass all of the checks such as financing, and electrical testing they can be connected to the grid and start generating electricity. Each ISO interconnection queue is public and by looking at the current active projects in these queues we can get a sense of what type of new power plants will be coming online in the near future (3 – 5 year time frame).
The infographic shows the summary of the interconnection queues of the seven U.S. ISOs:
Natural gas continues to thrive in a low natural gas fuel environment. The retiring coal and nuclear plants are mostly being replaced by these new natural gas plants.
Solar and wind continue to grow as they become more and more cost competitive. The wind projects being built in the Midwest in mainly due to the region having very good wind resource. The solar farms in California are mostly being built due to the renewable targets set by the state of California (33% renewable energy target by 2020).