ERCOT’s 14,000 MW of remaining coal capacity could be forced into retirement, according to a new report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). That is due in large part to large amount of new utility-scale solar capacity coming online, following years of new wind development. Solar capacity in ERCOT has increased from just 15 MW in 2010 to 2,281 MW at the end of 2019. ERCOT solar capacity is anticipated to grow to 5,800 MW by the end of 2020, and 11,100 MW by the end of 2021.
If this pace continues, the IEEFA report states 70% of daytime coal-fired generation could be at risk of retirement by 2022. Further, the IEEFA report concludes that the surge in new utility-scale solar capacity will irreversibly alter the market’s daily dynamics and drive even more coal plants offline by 2025. There are currently 11 coal plants in ERCOT, with the Oklaunion plant slated to shut down in October of this year.