In April, U.S. electricity generated from natural gas surpassed the coal-generated electricity, mirroring the shale boom overcoming the coal industry.
Natural gas prices took a plunge during last summer, along with oil prices, making it desirable for electricity generation. Coal-generated electricity reached 30 percent in April, while natural gas-generated electricity reached 31 percent.
The report comes from SNL Energy, research company building on data retrieved from the U.S. Energy Department.
U.S. electricity generation benefits from the plunging prices, as well as from federal regulations that increasingly put pressure on the mining industry, as well as coal-intensive industries, including power generation.
The 2008 drilling boom in the U.S. pitched natural gas production at 30 percent, while the U.S. became the largest producer of natural gas and oil worldwide. Hydraulic fracturing, as controversial as it may be with regards to health concerns, enabled a new resource market in the form of shale gas.
Since electricity generation is recorded, natural gas-generated electricity surpassed coal-generated electricity for the first time. A similar event could have taken place in 2012 when gas prices experienced a drop.
Nonetheless, the trend that indicates the surpassing of coal by natural gas has been taking head and grown constantly since this point. A growing body of federal regulations is increasing pressure on mining industry and coal-fired power plants. 2015 has seen a peak in that trend.
Consequently, coal production in the U.S. is expected to drop by 7.5 percent during 2015. The data comes from the Energy Information Administration. To this extent, a plunge has been observed with the bonds and shares of the U.S. coal mining companies.
Of 593 coal power plants across the U.S. in 2009, 2013 saw the number drop to 518, amounting to a total capacity of 303 gigawatts.
April 2015 is reported to have seen the U.S. coal power plants generate electricity at 42.8 per cent of capacity. In April 2013, the same coal power plants generated at 51.3 percent of the capacity.
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