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50 States of Power Decarbonization Q1 2024: Utilities Plan for Significant Load Growth, While States Scrutinize Coal Retirements and Carbon Pricing Programs

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Raleigh, NC — The NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) has released its Q1 2024 edition of the 50 States of Power Decarbonization. The quarterly series provides updates on state and utility actions pertaining to clean energy targets, emission reduction targets and carbon policies, generation planning and procurement rules, integrated resource plans, and electric generation capacity changes (RFPs, green tariffs, power plant retirements, etc.).

The Q1 2024 report finds that 48 states, as well as DC and Puerto Rico, took a total of 507 actions related to electric power decarbonization and resource planning during the quarter (see figure below). Among integrated resource plans recently filed or under review by regulators in Q1 2024, planned capacity additions totaled 84,212 MW for solar, 64,846 MW for wind, 52,689 for storage, and 31,330 for natural gas, while planned coal retirements totaled 29,807 MW.

Q1 2024 Action on Power Decarbonization and Resource Planning

The report discusses three trends in power decarbonization actions taken in Q1 2024: (1) utility integrated resource plans forecasting significant load growth; (2) state lawmakers adding new hurdles for coal plant retirement; and (3) carbon pricing programs facing uncertain futures.

“Continuing into the beginning of 2024, load growth is top of mind for utilities as the impacts of increased manufacturing, data centers, and electrification are evident in their resource planning,” noted Justin Lindemann, Policy Analyst at NCCETC. “While clean energy generation resources are a consistent part of multiple utility resource plans, some, like SWEPCO in Louisiana, Xcel Energy in Minnesota, and Duke Energy in the Carolinas, have chosen to also plan gigawatts worth of new natural gas units. Fortunately, utilities are continuing to retire significant amounts of coal capacity, albeit in certain cases replacing it with new natural gas.”

The report notes the top five policy developments of Q1 2024 were:

  • Arizona regulators voting to repeal the state’s renewable energy standard;
  • Kentucky and Utah lawmakers restricting fossil fuel plant retirement;
  • Washington legislators supporting a linkage of the state’s carbon market to the California-Quebec market;
  • The Colorado Energy Office releasing a new greenhouse gas pollution reduction roadmap; and
  • Duke Energy filing a revised carbon plan integrated resource plan in the Carolinas due to significant changes in load forecasts.

“Some states, concerned with potential reliability problems perceived to be associated with reductions in dispatchable power capacity, are adopting or considering restrictions on the ability of utilities to retire fossil fuel-fired power plants,” observed David Sarkisian, Principal Policy Analyst at NCCETC. “These restrictions include requirements for utility commission review, presumptions against plant retirement, and required notice periods.”

View the 50 States of Power Decarbonization Q1 2024 Quarterly Report Executive Summary

View and Purchase the 50 States of Power Decarbonization Q1 2024 Quarterly Report

View other 50 States Reports — Solar, Grid Modernization,  Electric Vehicles and Decarbonization

About the NC Clean Energy Technology Center

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University, advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, sustainable energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training.

Press release from NC Clean Energy Technology Center.

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