Shift Continues in Electrical Generation Sources

Shift Continues in Electrical Generation Sources

Coal generation dropped while natural gas, wind, nuclear and hydro generation increased.

Net electricity generation in the United States dropped by 4.1% from May 2008 to May 2009. This was the tenth consecutive month that net generation was down compared to the same calendar month in the prior year. According to the Commerce Department, these numbers are consistent with a drop in real gross domestic production of 1.0% from the first quarter of 2009 to the second quarter of 2009.


The drop in coal-fired generation was 14.8%. Declines in Alabama, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, and West Virginia, accounted for 60.7% of the national decrease in coal-fired generation. Generation from natural gas-fired plants was the largest absolute increase, up 10.6%. Increases in Pennsylvania and Alabama accounted for 51.8% of the national rise.


Generation from conventional hydroelectric sources was up 10.2%. Also, on the rise, nuclear generation was up 0.6% while net generation from wind sources was 12.5% higher. Eleven new wind farms helped Iowa account for 52.2% of the national increase. Petroleum liquid-fired generation was down by 8.3% and its overall share of net generation continued to be quite small compared to coal, nuclear, natural gas-fired, and hydroelectric sources.

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