Gas Catches Up to Coal in U.S. Power Generation

The State Journal
27 June 2012
By Pam Kasey

Natural gas caught up to coal in the generation of power in the U.S. for the first time ever in April.

Both generated about 95 million megawatt hours, according to data released June 27 by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

That comes to 32.4 percent of U.S. electricity.

The convergence was sudden. In March, 34 percent of power came from coal and 30 percent from gas.

But it's part of a longer trend. Coal generated 43 to 48 percent of electricity each month in 2010 and 39 to 47 percent in 2011. The level of 32.4 percent is the low point of a nearly uninterrupted plunge in monthly share since the beginning of 2010.

Gas generated just 20 percent of electricity at the beginning of 2010.

Total power generation in April 2012 was 2.3 percent below April 2011, and 2.9 percent above generation in April 2010.

More monthly electricity data may be found on the EIA's electricity web pages.