By March 5, 2016 Read More →

Coal is just 27.6% of US power generation, stockpiles up 4%

Natural gas-fired power generation exceeded coal-fired for 7 months in 2015, a first for US

Coal fell to just 27.6 per cent of US utility-scale power generation in Dec., while coal stockpiles increased to 197 million tons, up 4 per cent from the previous month, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

EIA-1-05mar16The increase in Nov.-to-Dec. coal stockpiles can be attributed to the “significant decrease” in coal consumption that occurred in Dec. due to the record warm temperatures and reduced reliance on coal for electricity generation, the EIA said in the Electricity Monthly Update, released on Feb. 26.

Overall American coal stockpile are now nearing record levels due to the loss in market share to natural gas in all regions of the country.

The average number of days of burn held at electric power plants is a forward-looking estimate of coal supply given a power plant’s current stockpile and past consumption patterns, according to the Update.

For bituminous units largely located in the eastern United States, the average number of days of burn increased from 88 days of burn in Nov. to 91 days of forward-looking days of burn in Dec..

For subbituminous units largely located in the western United States, the average number of days of burn increased, going from 85 days in Nov. to 95 days in Dec.

Coal generation in Dec. totaled 89.6 TWh, up two per cent from Nov. but down 28.1 per cent from the year-ago month, reported Platts News.

Dec. natural gas generation totaled 109.6 TWh, or 33.8 per cent of power generation, up 6.9 per cent from the prior month and up 20.4 per cent from the year-ago month.

Highlights – courtesy of Platts

  • Dec. was seventh time in 2015 that natural gas-fired generation exceeded coal-fired generation, whereas in year prior coal had always been dominant.
  • Coal generation peaked at 37.9 per cent in Feb. 2015, while natural gas generation peaked at 35.4 per cent in Aug.
  • Coal edged out natural gas generation, 33.2 per cent to 32.7 per cent, respectively. In 2014, coal generation accounted for 38.6 per cent of power generation and natural gas 27.5 per cent.
  • Coal had been as high as 49.6 per cent of US generation in 2005, and natural gas totaled 18.8 per cent of generation the same year.
  • Total US power generation came to 4.1 million TWh in 2015, down 0.2 per cent from 2014. US power generation peaked at 4.2 million TWh in 2007.

Posted in: News

Comments are closed.