Thursday, May 31, 2012

Natural Gas: "Power Plant Gas Use Rose 40% in March, U.S. EIA Report Says" Coal Usage Tumbles

A couple weeks ago we posted "The Amazingly Fast Substitution of Natural Gas for Coal In Electricity Generation":
I've been doing this stuff pretty much my entire adult life and can play the 3D chess game that is energy with some degree of mastery. What we've seen in the electrical utilities over the last six months is unique.

Mental signposts: the switch from biomass to coal supremecy at the start of the Industrial revolution took 75 years and the rise of oil took about 100 years to move coal into second place.

As I said, what we're seeing is unique....
Here's some more evidence via Bloomberg:
U.S. power plants increased natural gas use by 40 percent in March from a year earlier as low prices prompted a switch from coal, the Energy Department said today. Coal’s share fell by 20 percent.

Gas used in electricity generation rose to 703.5 billion cubic feet in March from 503.9 billion a year earlier, the department’s Energy Information Administration said today in its Electric Power Monthly. The increase represents 6.4 billion cubic feet a day of additional gas demand during the month, versus an average daily gain of 5.8 billion in February and 3.6 billion in January.

The shift from coal to natural gas among electric generators was most notable in the Southeast, Central and mid- Atlantic states.

“This trend is likely to persist in the short term as low natural gas prices make natural gas-fired generation more economical,” the department said.

Coal use fell to 57.6 million tons from 72.3 million in March 2011. Supplies “as measured by days of burn were above 80 days for the third straight month in March as declining coal consumption drove coal stockpile increases,” the department said. ...MORE