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Genscape reports January US coal-fired power generation up 8.9% above January 2012 levels; higher demand with cold-snap, higher gas prices, lower nuclear

12 February 2013

Genscape reported that January 2013 coal-fired power generation in the US surged 8.9% above January 2012 levels. This increase to 140,080 GWH resulted from higher demand for electricity, higher gas prices, and lower levels of generation from nuclear plants and renewable technologies.

Power demand started out 2013 up 3.2% to 350,554 GWh versus January 2012 levels. The primary driver of the increase was the late January cold-snap experienced the week of the 21st. Overall the weather pattern averaged out to slightly warmer than average for the month, but the cold snap at the end of the month featured temperatures that were as much as 20 degrees colder than average in some areas which helped to drive very strong heating load.

Both coal and gas-fired generation supplied the additional power needed for this increased demand with gas increasing its output by 1.7% over January 2012 levels to 94,396 GWh. Coal and gas had equal power sector output levels in April of last year. Coal has since recovered ground and accounted for 40% of power sector output in January while gas captured 27% of the market. This represented a 2.1 percentage point increase for coal’s percentage of overall generation in comparison to January of last year.

Nuclear output had a down month—decreasing nearly 2% from 2012—with the Fermi plant in Michigan continuing to run at a de-rate and an unplanned 6 day outage at First Energy’s Perry unit in Ohio. Higher gas prices are the final factor helping to push up coal’s share of the total market. On a relative price basis Henry Hub gas was up 24% compared to last January while delivered CAPP, CSX, and PRB coal prices were estimated by Genscape to be 5-9% lower than in January 2012.

Over the past decade, Genscape has deployed thousands of patented and proprietary real-time energy monitors throughout the United States. Utilizing the data from these monitors, Genscape has developed a bottom-up approach that uses hard data—not surveys or estimates—to predict total US fuel consumption in close to real-time.

The company has now launched its new Generation Fuel Monitor Service. Genscape’s new Generation Fuel Monitor Service delivers estimates with what it claims is a high degree of accuracy 3 months before the actual data becomes available from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

February 12, 2013 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

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Why the switch back from NG to Coal? Something is not going right in the land of the free?

What is required to convince operators to use more NG and less Coal? USA is not short of very cheap NG?

Would a carbon tax or a simple tax on Coal or on Electricity produced with Coal do it?

The Treasury Dept. would welcome both?

Well, HarveyD, you have been saying in many other posts that the grid mix is moving towards lower CO2/kWh because of falling use of coal and increasing use of natgas. And that therefore we should be moving to electric cars now.

And I have been saying that coal use versus natgas depends on coal and natgas prices, as well as demand for electricity.

The above yet again highlights that our electric energy supply IS NOT CLEAN, and that electrical vehicles (as I have shown repeatedly) pollute MORE CO2/mile than best-of-breed hybrid vehicles.

The subcompact-size Nissan Leaf is worse than the 50mpg hybrid compact Toyota Prius. And 70mpg diesel hybrids are MUCH cleaner than electric cars.

Yes, CO2 taxation is the answer. But with CO2 taxation, hybrids will again win and be both lower $/mile AND lower CO2/mile than electric cars.

I can't agree with you because our electricity is 96% Hydro and 4% Wind and retails at a very low $0.053/kWh no matter where you are connected. Even at that very low price the net profit is close to $4B/year. Meanwhile, dirty gasoline retails at $1,47/l ($5.52 US/Gal) and dirty diesel is close to $6/gal.

However, USA, China and India will have to clean up their act and start producing more clean e-energy because those 3 countries will cover the planet with (permanent) smog from their coal fired power plants and gas/diesel guzzlers.

We may have a new electrified vehicle support program soon to level the playing field between ICEVs-HEVs-PHEVs-BEVs and support most of the initial cost for private and public chargers. That program may be financed with a 0.5 cents to 0.75 cents/kWh on electricity tariff and 5 to 7 cents/l on gasoline and diesel fuels. The extra burden would be equivalent to about $5/month per household for electricity and about the same for gasoline/diesel fuel per car.

Over 66% are in favor.

Again, our well (over) equipped Hydro has sent 160 repair crews and heavy trucks to New England States, N.S. and N.B to help with urgent repairs to their network after the recent moderate to heavy snow storm.

Our Hydro people may be over equipped (and over staffed) but the privately own Networks in New England States, N.B. and N.S. are not equipped enough to face an average snow storm and/or category 1 or 2 hurricanes. A Category II or III hurricane would wipe out most current old USA networks.

A class action for gross negligence would be justified?

HarveyD,

the 96% hydro number may be true for Quebec Province , Canada, but it is not true for Canada as a whole and certainly not true for the US. Please also source your Quebec numbers.

Here are the numbers I dug up:

2007 numbers for Canada say 59% hydro and 19% fossile, Reference: http://www.ec.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=714D9AAE-1&news=0A6CF209-AF7A-4913-A27F-527B4ECF811B

2012 numbers for Canada say 59% hydro and 23% fossile, Reference: http://www.esu-services.ch/fileadmin/download/publicLCI/itten-2012-electricity-mix.pdf

As you can see, the fraction of fossile is INCREASING also in Canada

You are dreaming if you think Canada as a whole, let alone North America, has enough low-CO2 electricity surplus to make electric cars lower CO2/mile than today's best-of-breed 50mpg gasoline-hbrid and especially 70mpg diesel-hybrid cars.

Even Quebec does not have a surplus hydro to run electric cars on. So you should stop fantasizing, and get with the program of minimizing CO2/mile by using B-O-B hybrids. Electric cars will INCREASE CO2/mile and make things WORSE than they have to be.

In 30 years we may have clean nuclear-based electricity, but we do not now. Please agree to do what is best for the planet RIGHT NOW.

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