Thanks to increased production of North American gas and new regulations limiting the use of coal, electric power generation in the United States now relies more on gas than on coal for the first time ever.
A recent report by the research firm SNL Energy, based on information from the Energy Information Administration, says gas generated about 31 percent of electric power in April, a small but historic one percent more than was generated by coal. Nuclear power accounted for only about 20 percent, the report says.
Hydraulic fracturing since 2008 has increased the output of gas in the United States by 30 percent, making the country the world’s most prolific producer of oil and gas combined. The procedure, also known as fracking, allows drillers to extract huge amounts of oil and gas trapped in underground shale that would not be accessible to conventional drilling.
This shale boom has contributed to a global oversupply of both fuels that peaked about a year ago, driving down their prices. The price of gas alone is now about one-third of what it was a decade ago. As a result, many electric utilities have been making some existing coal-fired generators more versatile by equipping them with gas turbines. Some have even retired older coal generators altogether.
Full article: Gas Passes Coal As Top U.S. Power Source (OilPrice)