The United States thermal power market is expected to rise at a CAGR of more than 0.5% during 2020 - 2025. Factors such as using natural gas plants as a backup for renewable energy are likely to drive the market. However, reducing renewable energy prices has provided an economically viable cleaner alternative, which is expected to restrain the growth of the market.
- Many private firms and state governments, especially in the south of the country, are investing in thermal power plants as sources of energy for the future. This is expected to drive the market in the forecast period.
- The technological advancements in efficiency and reduction in the harmful emissions from thermal power projects are expected to create ample opportunity for market players.
- Natural gas provides for a large amount of electricity in the country and is expected to dominate the thermal power market in the forecast period. The application of natural gas as an intermediary for transitioning to renewable energy is expected to aid the market.
Key Market Trends
Increasing Investments in Thermal Power to Drive the Market
- In the United States, the different states are following different paths for the establishment of thermal power plants. For example, the state of California is dominated by Natural gas, but the state is pushing its utilities to replace natural gas power plants with renewables and other resources. Other states like in the mid-west are following a more natural gas-based approach for their energy needs.
- In 2019, the Florida Public Service Commission approved a pair of new gas-fired power plants needed to serve the future power demand of cooperative electric customers. Regulators say the combined projects will save customers USD 363 million. Seminole Electric Cooperative is expected to construct a new 1.1 GW plant in Putnam County, expected in service in 2022. Shady Hills Energy Center is expected to build a new 573 MW natural gas facility in Pasco County, which is likely to be in service in late 2021.
- In 2018, Florida-based NTE Energy announced plans for a new 1 GW gas-fired power plant in South Carolina to be operational in 2024. The state of South Carolina is struggling with its generation supply and therefore looking for a cheaper supply of energy, which may be provided through the use of thermal power plants. The increase in investment is expected to aid the growth of the market.
- Primary energy consumption in the country decreased by 1%, to 94.65 exajoules, in 2019 from 95.60 exajoules, in 2018. The reduction in primary energy consumption in the country is expected to restrain the growth of the market.
- However, increasing investments in the country are expected to drive the growth in the coming years.
Natural Gas to Dominate the Market
- Natural gas is among the cleanest fuels, which can provide electricity at an industrial scale economically. Gas-fired power generation is expected to displace coal capacity in the country in the coming decades. Although investments in renewables are expected to grow significantly, the flexibility afforded by gas-fired power generation is expected to continue to be in demand.
- Among the most significant drivers of the natural gas thermal power plants is its use as backup power for unreliability in renewable sources like wind and solar. Natural gas plants can start running in short notice, which can increase the utility grid's reliability.
- Primary energy provided by Natural gas, in the country, increased by 3.39%, to 30.48 exajoules, in 2019 from 29.52 exajoules, in 2018.
- The country has seen a significant increase in shale oil and gas production, which has drastically reduced the United States' dependence on the global energy supply chains. Reduction in natural gas prices has further aided the growth of the natural gas thermal power market.
- Hence, natural gas is expected to dominate the market in the forecast period due to rising investments in the field.
The United States thermal power market is partially fragmented. Some of the key players in this market include NextEra Energy, Inc., Dominion Energy, Inc., Duke Energy Corporation, Southern Company, and American Electric Power Company Inc
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