Natural gas-fired electricity generation grows 9 percent in first half of 2020
Natural gas-fired electricity generation increased 9 percent in the first half of 2020 compared to the previous year, reported the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Hourly Electric Grid Monitor.
It was the fastest-growing source of electric power generation in the lower 48 states. The increase was the result of recent low prices and natural gas-fired power capacity additions despite a five percent decline in total electricity generation due to reduced business activity related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
Coal-fired generation took a major hit in the first half of the year, with electric generation down 30 percent year-over-year. Due to the low natural gas prices, coal-fired generation has not been economical in most regions compared with natural gas. Natural gas prices averaged $1.81 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) through the first half of the year, down from an average of $2.74/MMBtu in the first half of 2019.
Coal-to-natural gas switching occurred most frequently in the PJM Interconnection (PJM)…