Coal loses share to natural gas in SPP’s February fuel mix
Coal-fired generation across the Southwest Power Pool accounted for 44% of total generation in February, down from 47% in January and 48% a year ago, while gas-fired generation recouped coal’s loss, the most recent SPP data showed.
Total coal-fired generation averaged 328 GWh/d in February, down about 13% from January and up by around 1% from February 2017, as total generation averaged 743 GWh in February, down 5% from January and up 12% from February 2017.
On the other hand, natural gas-fired generation averaged 149 GWh/d in February, up about 13% on the month and more than 56% on the year, with contribution percentage rising to 20% in February from 16% in January and 14% in February 2017.
A much colder February from last year pushed heating demand higher, likely calling upon more gas-fired peaking plants into dispatch, increasing natural gas shares in total generation.
Lincoln, in North SPP, has 55% more heating-degrees days than February 2017 and 9.5% more than normal, as Oklahoma City, in South SPP, has 73.5% more heating-degrees days than last year and 5.3% more than normal, according to the National Weather Service.
Wind, the second largest generation source after coal in the footprint, accounted for about 26% of total generation in February, flat from January and February 2017. Wind generation averaged 193 GWh/d in February, down 5% on the month and up more than 8% on the year.