Queued Up: Characteristics of Power Plants Seeking Transmission Interconnection As of the End of 2022
Proposed large-scale electric generation and storage projects must apply for interconnection to the bulk power system via interconnection queues. While most projects that apply for interconnection are not subsequently built, data from these queues nonetheless provide a general indicator for mid-term trends in developer interest. Berkeley Lab compiled and analyzed data from all seven ISOs/RTOs in concert with 35 non-ISO utilities, representing an estimated 85% of all U.S. electricity load. We include all "active" projects in these generation interconnection queues through the end of 2022, as well as data on "operational" and "withdrawn" projects where those data are available.
We find that the amount of new electric capacity in these queues is growing dramatically, with over 2,000 gigawatts (GW) of total generation and storage capacity now seeking connection to the grid (over 95% of which is for zero-carbon resources like solar, wind, and battery storage). Solar (947 GW) and battery storage (~680 GW) are – by far – the fastest growing resources in the queues; combined they accounted for over 80% of new capacity entering the queues in 2022. Substantial wind (300 GW) capacity is also seeking interconnection, 38% of which is for offshore projects (113 GW). In total, about 1,250 GW of zero-carbon generating capacity is currently seeking transmission access, as is 82 GW of natural gas capacity. Hybrids projects (co-locating multiple generation and/or storage types) comprise a large – and increasing – share of proposed projects, particularly in CAISO and the non-ISO West. 457 GW of solar hybrids (primarily solar+battery) and 24 GW of wind hybrids are currently active in the queues; over half of battery storage in the queues is paired with generation.
However, much of this proposed capacity will be withdrawn from the queues and not built. Among a subset of queues for which data are available, only 21% of the projects (and 14% of capacity) seeking connection from 2000 to 2017 have been built as of the end of 2022. Additionally, interconnection wait times are on the rise: The typical duration from connection request to commercial operation increased from <2 years for projects built in 2000-2007 to nearly 4 years for those built in 2018-2022 (with a median of 5 years for projects built in 2022).