Friday, March 18, 2016

Natural Gas Poised to Surpass Coal for Electricity in U.S.

Annual share of total U.S. electricity generation by source (Credit: Energy Information Administration) Click to Enlarge.
This year is expected to be the first in U.S. history that more electricity will be generated from natural gas than coal, a new analysis has found, marking another milestone in the decline of America’s largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions.  

Coal used to generate electricity represents about 30 percent of U.S. emissions driving climate change.  Natural gas emits roughly half the carbon as burning coal, not accounting for methane leakage from natural gas wells and pipelines.

Natural gas overtook coal as the leading U.S. source of electricity — on a monthly basis — last April, but 2016 is likely to be the first full year in which it will have replaced coal as the chief source of electric power nationwide, according to the analysis published this week by the U.S. Department of Energy.

“Right now, what’s been driving the switchover to natural gas from coal is mainly the sustained low natural gas prices,” U.S. Energy Information Administration analyst Tyler Hodge said.

Utilities have been routinely retiring coal-fired power plants in recent years as they’ve had to comply with new mercury emissions standards.  They are also grappling with the possibility of having to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their coal-fired power plants to comply with the Clean Power Plan, Hodge said.

Read more at Natural Gas Poised to Surpass Coal for Electricity in U.S.

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