Natural gas-generated electricity in the United States has grown by 12% year-on-year in 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Energy and its Energy Information Administration.
Through March 18, natgas-fired power plants generated a cumulative 301,100 gigawatthours (GWh) of electricity — this excludes the additional leap day in 2020, the federal agency said in its Hourly Electric Grid Monitor report.
The growth in generation occurred despite a 5% decline in total powergen due to a milder winter and lower demand for electric heating, Kallanish Energy reports. The increase was due largely by low natural gas prices and capacity additions that occurred in 2019.
Natural gas spot price has fallen from $2.87 per million British thermal units on Nov. 7 to an average of $1.94/MMBtu so far in 2020, the EIA said.
The low-price environment has persisted for the first three months of 2020 and has made natural gas a more competitive fuel, it added.
Last year, the U.S. added a net 6,674 MW of new combined-cycle capacity. The growth is expected to continue with another net 5,840 MW of combined-cycle capacity planned in 2020.
As natural gas-fired generation increased, coal-fired generation declined by an average of 965 GWh per day in 2020, compared to the same time period in 2019.
The switching from coal to gas has been most obvious in the U.S. Midwest and the Gulf Coast.
This post appeared first on Kallanish Energy News.