COAL USE AT NEW LOW
First-quarter 2011 coal share of power generation lowest in over 30 years
July 27, 2011 (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
"The share of electricity generated by coal during the first three months of this year was at its lowest first-quarter level in more than 30 years. The U.S. electric power sector generated about… 26.5 [terawatthours (TWh)] less than the amount generated during the first quarter of 2010—despite the fact that the overall total level of generation in the United States increased by less than 1%...
"...The amount of coal-fired generation in the first quarter of 2011 corresponds to a 46% share of total generation, which is 3 percentage points lower than the same period last year and 6 percentage points lower than the first quarter of 2008."
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"The decline in the share of generation provided by coal is offset by increased generation fueled by other energy sources, particularly natural gas. In the eastern U.S., the spot price of coal has risen steadily for nearly two years, while natural gas prices have remained comparatively low…
"...[C]oal has historically been the dominant fuel used in the electric power sector [in the Midwest]. During the first quarter of 2011, coal's share of generation in the Midwest fell from 70.5% in 2010 to 66.9%, while the region's fuel share for natural gas gained 2 percentage points…"