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EIA: Monthly coal- and natural gas-fired generation in US equal for first time in April 2012

Preliminary electric power data show that, for the first time since the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) began collecting the data, electricity generation from natural gas-fired plants is virtually equal to generation from coal-fired plants, with each fuel providing 32% of total generation.

In April 2012, preliminary data show net electric generation from natural gas was 95.9 million megawatt-hours, only slightly below generation from coal, at 96.0 million megawatt-hours.

US monthly net power generation. Source: EIA. Click to enlarge.

The 2011 and 2012 data shown above are preliminary and are subject to change (final 2011 data will be released this fall, and 2012 data will be revised at that time). Preliminary data are derived from a survey of a sample of large power plants, and final data come from a census of all power plants. For 2010, the difference between preliminary and final net generation data from all sources was 0.1%.

There are strong seasonal trends in the overall demand for electric power. With warmer summer weather and increased electric demand for air conditioning, demand will increase, requiring increased output from both coal- and natural gas-fired generators.

The mix of fuels used to generate electricity—and specifically the competition between natural gas and coal—is dependent on several factors, EIA notes: decreasing coal share of generation, increasing coal stockpiles, rising coal exports, effect of natural gas prices, and natural gas consumption by sector.



People often comment that carbon savings from gas are reduced if lots of methane leaks, while this could be an issue its in the interest of the producer to minimise this as much as possible. Its also important to also look at the upstream and downstream side of coal generation, mining, distribtuion and ash disposal have a lot of greenhouse gas and local pollutions associated with them too.


Yes 3PS.....a very recent study concluded that shale gas (SG) power generation plants produce as much if not more total GHG than new coal fired power plants.

Not so sure if that study was financed by the Coal industry?

SG reported and non-reported leaks seems to be the culprit.

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