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Wind And Natural Gas Are Big Winners In US Power Generation

Although regional trends vary, natural gas and wind will be the fastest-growing sources of electricity generation in the United States through 2020, at the expense of coal, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Tuesday.

Electricity generation from natural gas is set to rise by 6 percent this year and by 2 percent next year, the EIA says in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) in September.

Electricity generation from wind will go up 6 percent in 2019 and surge 14 percent in 2020, according to EIA’s estimates.

At the same time, electricity generation from coal is set to drop across the U.S., by 15 percent this year and by 9 percent next year.

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Natural gas-fired generation will see the highest growth in the mid-Atlantic region in the PJM Interconnection transmission area, while Texas will see the highest growth in wind power generation, the EIA said.

Back in January this year, the EIA said that wind, natural gas, and solar capacity will lead the new electricity capacity in the United States in 2019, while coal-fired generation will account for more than half of the scheduled capacity retirements.  

In the September STEO, EIA expects that the share of U.S. utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas-fired plants to increase from 34 percent last year to 37 percent this year and to 38 percent next year.

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The share of wind, solar, and other non-hydropower renewables combined accounted for 10 percent of U.S. utility-scale generation in 2018. This share is expected to remain the same in 2019 and to rise to 12 percent in 2020. This year, annual generation from wind is set to exceed hydropower generation for the first time and to become the leading source of renewable electricity generation—and it will stay so in 2020, EIA says.

Meanwhile, the share of coal in U.S. generation is set to drop from 28 percent in 2018 to 25 percent in 2019 and to 22 percent in 2020.

Earlier this year, the EIA said that renewables held a larger share than coal in U.S. monthly electricity generation in April 2019, for the first time ever, reflecting seasonal factors and longer-term trends such as coal’s decline and renewables’ rise.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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