- Natural gas-fired generation was on pace for a strong finish in 2015, and though data for December are still pending, the U.S. Energy Information Adminsitration says it exceeded coal generation in at least six months of the year.
- Before April 2015, natural gas' share of the United States generation mix had never exceeded coal, but according to EIA's "Electric Power Monthly" report, natural gas led coal in November, making it the fifth consecutive month and sixth time overall it has accomplished this feat in 2015 thus far, SNL Energy reports.
- Coal generation is still likely to top natural gas for full-year 2015, but in November EIA reports that coal generated 87,789 GWh to natural gas' 101,866 GWh.
Coal-fired generation will still likely be king in 2015, but the gap has been closing and gas appears to have finished the year with a remarkable run. Coal generation tumbled nearly 10% between October and November, pressured by a mild winter, SNL Energy reports. While gas generation dipped as well, the decline was not as significant.
Coal generated 87,789 GWh in November, compared with 97,409 GWh in October. Gas generated 101,866 GWh, compared with 109,921 GWh in October. Nuclear generation remained roughly constant over the two months, supplying more than 60,000 GWh.
Before 2015, natural gas generation had never surpassed coal, but it did so last year in April, July, August, September, October and, now, November. Data for December will be available in about a month. Overall generation has fallen since the summer, declining from more than 400,000 GWh in July to about 300,000 GWh in November.
There are indications the U.S. is moving away from coal. EIA said coal production last year was estimated to decline by 92 MMst, with the production declines occurring in all regions (led by the Appalachian region, with a 12% production decline). And carbon regulations under the Clean Power Plan, finalized last year, would make it nearly impossible to build new coal generation facilities without expensive pollution controls if the rules are not overturned in court.