Mergers in 2012 bring more power capacity additions than new builds

Some of the biggest electric utility mergers in 2012 created additions of large amounts of generating capacity compared to building new power plants, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Electric companies add capacity to their portfolios in two primary ways: By building new generators or buying existing generators from another company. Last year, approximately 107 GW of capacity were bought and sold in the U.S. electric power market, a majority of which came from mergers or acquisitions. In comparison, 26 GW of capacity from constructed and planned power plants were added in 2012.

The data include capacity from three large mergers: Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC) and Constellation Energy Group, which closed on March 12, 2012; Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) and Progress Energy, which closed on July 2, 2012; and NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG) and GenOn Energy, which closed on December 14, 2012.

Natural gas and renewable sources make up a majority of the generating capacity bought or sold since 2005.

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