Power Generation, Transmission, and Use

Markets, Regulation, and Oversight

Impacts of Power Generation and Transmission

Looking Ahead


CEIR Report Map


Maryland Power Plants and the Environment (CEIR-18)

2.2 New and Proposed Power Plant Construction

Click to OpenNew Natural Gas Power Plants Since the start of 2015, the PSC has received 17 CPCN applications from developers of proposed new generating facilities - an unprecedented level of licensing activity. Over the past 16 years, the PSC has received 52 CPCN applications for new generation, representing several thousand megawatts of potential generating capacity at existing facilities and at greenfield sites with several application reviews ongoing (see Figure 2-12). While the majority of these proposed plants did obtain a CPCN, only 18 are now in operation, with the remainder under construction or being delayed or abandoned because of various financial or commercial reasons, compounded by the reduction in electricity demand resulting from the economic recession and state energy efficiency initiatives in PJM.

Maryland has seen a sharp increase in utility-scale solar projects in recent years. Developers are proposing these solar projects to capitalize on Maryland state tax incentives and support the Maryland Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (see Solar discussion in Section 2.1.5). 

Figure 2-12 CPCN Requests, 2000 through August 2016

The process by which new power plants are proposed and developed in Maryland has changed as a result of the move to retail competition and electric utility restructuring. Maryland’s regulated utilities are no longer responsible for building new generation. Resource planning resides with the competitive electricity market, driven by economics and price signals. High prices that result from tight supply markets are expected to attract investors, developers, and demand response providers; low prices that result from over-supplied markets are projected to discourage new generation development and demand response providers. However, substantial and sustained price differentials are required to elicit such market behaviors. The up-and-down movement of wholesale prices in PJM has resulted in a “boom-bust” cycle in the development of new generating plants in PJM. This trend produces a situation where many power plants are proposed and built in a short time frame followed by a period where few plants are built. Figure 2-12 demonstrates the recent increase in the number of CPCN requests in Maryland after a multi-year period with relatively few open applications. Figure 2-13 shows the amount of capacity on-line for Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the region.

Figure 2-13 Maryland and Regional Capacity  

Figure 2-13

*Region includes Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.

Source: Energy Information Administration, EIA-860 Existing Nameplate and Net Summer Capacity by Energy Source, Producer Type, and State, Release Date October 21, 2015.

Click to OpenPJM Generation Interconnection QueueOver the last decade, capacity growth has been stagnant in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the region as a whole. This “bust” period followed a brief period of growth in the early 2000s. Projects that had started construction prior to the decrease in wholesale market prices in 2002 went on-line by 2004, after which there was a slowdown in new facilities coming on-line in the region. Since then, a combination of several factors have suppressed the growth of capacity in the region, including energy efficiency and demand response efforts, transmission upgrades, capacity in excess of reliability requirements, and low load growth. These factors will likely continue to maintain a stagnant growth pattern in future years.

New Natural Gas Power Plants

In the past five years, the PSC granted CPCN approval to three new gas-fired power generation facilities in southern Maryland. All three facilities are combined-cycle power generating stations.

  • The Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) St. Charles facility is located in Charles County, and received initial CPCN approval in 2008. A modified and amended CPCN was subsequently filed and approved in 2012. CPV began construction in December 2014, and targets a 2017 in-service date. Originally filed as 640 MW combined-cycle power plant, the project was updated with more efficient technology and now yields a 725 MW name-plate capacity.
  • The Keys Energy Center, located in Prince George’s County, will be a 755 MW facility, and received CPCN approval in November 2014. PSEG Power acquired the project from Genesis Power, LLC in 2015, and anticipates operations beginning in 2018.
  • Mattawoman Energy, LLC, a subsidiary of Panda Power Funds, LLC, is building the Mattawoman Energy Center near Brandywine in Prince George’s County. The 990 MW project received CPCN approval in October 2015. Mattawoman expects plant operations to start in 2018.

PJM Generation Interconnection Queue

New generation projects seeking to connect to the PJM grid must submit a generator interconnection request. PJM performs the requisite studies for generator interconnection in clusters grouped together based on a six-month queue cycle. The aggregate list of dated interconnection requests is referred to as the generation interconnection queue. As of early 2016, the PJM interconnection queue consisted of projects totaling 47.3 GW of capacity (stated as winter net capacity). Natural gas is the dominant resource, followed by wind; the breakdown by fuel type is shown in the pie chart below. Renewable energy projects accounted for around 25 percent of the total capacity in the PJM interconnection queue. Although the majority of generation projects in the interconnection queue are not ultimately constructed, the interconnection queue provides an initial estimate of the potential new generation capacity in PJM.

PJM Figure