Coal Holds Ground in WV Power Generation but Loses in OH and PA

The State Journal
12 December 2013
By Jim Ross

Ohio and Pennsylvania moved away from coal-fired power generation and toward natural gas last year, while West Virginia remained anchored to coal.

According to final data for 2012 released Dec. 12 by the Energy Information Administration, the amount of coal-fired power generation declined by 7.5 percent in West Virginia last year, from about 75.96 million megawatt hours in 2011 to 70.27 million in 2012.

Overall power generation in West Virginia was down about 7.1 percent to 73.4 million megawatt hours.

Despite a 32 percent decrease in price for natural gas delivered to electric generators — utilities, independent producers and others — gas-powered generation in the Mountain State decreased about 3.4 percent.

Ohio and Pennsylvania, meanwhile, saw gas-fired generation increase even as total generation fell. Gas-fired generation in Ohio was up about 83.7 percent. In Pennsylvania it increased by 27 percent. Coal-fired generation decreased 18.7 percent in Ohio and 13.4 percent in Pennsylvania.

Gas accounted for 24 percent of power generation in Ohio last year and 24 percent in Pennsylvania, compared with about one-third of 1 percent in West Virginia. Coal produced about 66 percent of the electricity in Ohio, 39 percent in Pennsylvania and 96 percent in West Virginia,

As generation and fuel mix changed, so did coal receipts at power plants. West Virginia power plants received 1 percent less coal than in 2011. Ohio plants received 22 percent less and Pennsylvania plants 16 percent.