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Gas overtakes coal in US power mix

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World Coal,

Electricity generated from natural gas outstripped that generated from coal for the first time in the US in April, according to figures from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

In its latest Electric Power Monthly, the EIA data shows gas generation totaling 92 516 GWh in April compared to the 88 835 GWh produced using coal. That puts gas at 31% of the electricity mix and coal at just 30% - down from 44% in April 2010.

“To some degree, the latest statistics reflect the low-demand season with both fuels showing a big drop from the winter months,” said Charlotte Cox and Peter Marrin of SNL Energy in a note. “New environmental regulations and low gas prices are other key factors leading to the shift to natural gas for power generation.”

Coal-fired generation is expected to be boosted later in the year, however, as natural gas prices rise and coal-fired plants return from spring maintenance schedules with the EIA expecting the fuel to generate 35.6% of US electricity over the year, compared to 30.9% from natural gas.

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