Natural gas generation exceeds coal for first time in U.S.

Revisedshafer2New data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) show the United States is continuing to shift away from coal-fired generation and for the first time ever in April produced more power from natural gas. The latest figures show gas-fired plants around the country produced 92,516 gigawatt-hours in April compared to 88,835 gigawatt-hours of coal generation.

Driven by low gas prices and a slew of carbon regulations taking coal plants offline, coal’s year-over-year April production declined 18.9 percent, very similar to gas’ 20.6 percent increase.

Nuclear generation saw a 6 percent boost in generation over the past year.

Although power from gas generation increased more than 20 percent year-over-year, the real winner may be solar energy, which EIA reported increased almost 60 percent in the last year.

Total renewable generation, on an annual basis, has risen from about 358,000 gigawatt-hours in 2005 to 540,000 gigawatt-hours in 2014.

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