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Mapped: The Age of Energy Projects in Interconnection Queues, by State

The 30 Largest U.S. Hydropower Plants

U.S. Energy Projects in Interconnection Queues, by State

By the end of 2023, more than 11,000 energy projects were in interconnection queues in the United States, waiting for a green-light from regional grid operators to proceed with construction. 

This map, sponsored by the National Public Utilities Council, maps out the average age of active energy projects in interconnection queues by state, using data from Berkeley Lab

Interconnection Queues, Explained

Interconnection queues are lists of energy projects that have made interconnection requests to their regional grid operators. Once submitted, these requests formally initiate the impact study process that each project goes through before grid connection, forming waiting lists for approval known as interconnection queues. 

In recent years, both the number and generation capacity of queued projects have surged in the United States, along with the length of time spent in queue. 

According to Berkeley Lab, the amount of generation capacity entering queues each year has risen by more than 550% from 2015 to 2023, with average queue duration rising from 3 years to 5 years the same period.  

As a result of the growing backlog, a large proportion of projects ultimately withdraw from queues, leading to only 19% of applications reaching commercial operations. 

The Backlog: Number of Projects and Average Wait Times

Of the 11,000 active projects in U.S. queues at the end of 2023, Texas, California, and Virginia had the most in queue; 1,208, 947, and 743, respectively. 

When looking at the average ages of these projects, all three states hovered around the national average of 34 months (2.83 years), with Texas sporting 28 months, California 33, and Virginia 34. 

Vermont, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Florida, on the other hand, had the highest average queue durations; 54, 49, 47, and 46 months, respectively. 

Average Queue Duration by Project Type

At the end of 2023, more than 95% of the generation capacity in active interconnection queues was for emission-free resources. The table below provides a breakdown.

The 30 Largest U.S. Hydropower Plants

Wind projects had the highest wait times at the end of 2023 with an average age of 40 months (3.33 years). Solar projects, on the other hand, made up more than 40% of projects in queue. 

Overall, reducing the time that these renewable energy projects spend in queues can accelerate the transition to a low-carbon energy future. 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, enhancing data transparency, streamlining approval processes, promoting economic efficiency, and maintaining a reliable grid are some of the ways this growing backlog can be mitigated. 

Learn more about how electric utilities and the power sector can lead on the path toward decarbonization here.

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The National Public Utilities Council (NPUC) is a leading research organization dedicated to driving progress in the decarbonization of power generation. The council fosters collaboration between public utilities, providing a platform for sharing ideas and finding innovative solutions to the challenges of reducing carbon emissions.