Power

Natural gas generation grows 37% in Central U.S in 2020: EIA

natural gas generation up

Natural gas generation has grown in most of the U.S. regions, but had the most in central U.S. with a 37% increase in July, 2020, compared to the summer peak of 2015, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) informed.

On that month, central U.S. generation peaked at 53 million megawatt hours (MWh), the largest seasonal peak of all of U.S.

According o EIA’s Power Plant Operations Report, annual generation of electricity by natural gas increased by 31% in the northeast region; 20% in the central region of the country, and 17% in the south, between 2015 and 2019.

“In the West region of the continental United States, electric power generation from natural gas power plants remained relatively flat during the same period,” the report underlines.

This increase is explained by the competitiveness that natural gas has gained against coal. As we’ve reported previously, during 2020’s first half, the use of coal in power generation dropped 30%.

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Natural gas generation capacity also up

The push of renewables and climate change agenda has displaced coal also; as many countries establish net-zero carbon emissions goals, coal and other power generators are losing demand in front of greener alternatives; like natural gas, hydrogen or biofuels.

In fact, giant companies like Toshiba Energy are withdrawing from coal-fired power plants that emit large amounts of carbon dioxide. While giant coal corporations like Peabody are at bankrupt.

Also, cheaper prices of natural gas push it further into the market, and even “when natural gas and coal are similarly priced on a cost-per-energy-content basis, most natural gas-fired generators can produce electricity more efficiently than coal-fired generators; providing an economic advantage in electricity markets,” EIA explains.

In this regard, as natural gas generation grows all over the U.S, also the generation capacity. According to EIA, between 2015 and 2019 net generation capacity grew 11%; about 35 giga watts of net summer capacity entered service on that period.

Again, most of this gas generation capacity grew the most in the central and northeast regions of the country; near the natural gas production area of Appalachia, in states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

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