By Steve Goldstein
As natural-gas prices surge, coal-fired generation in the U.S. is set to increase for the first time in seven years, a government forecast finds.
The U.S. Energy Information Agency said coal-fired generation will jump 22% this year.
The EIA notes that in many parts of the country, power plans choose between the two sources.
The year-to-date delivered cost of natural gas /zigman2/quotes/210189548/delayed NG00 -1.97% to U.S. power plants has averaged $4.93 per million British thermal units, more than double last year’s price, the EIA said.
That said, the EIA pointed out the power sector has retired about 30% of its coal plant generation capacity since 2010. No new coal-fired power capacity has come online since 2013. The EIA said coal-fired generation will probably drop 5% next year.
Natural gas emits almost 50% less carbon dioxide than coal, the EIA says.