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US coal generation rises to six-month high in February: EIA


Highest corresponding month since 2016

Generation share for coal rises to 25-month high

  • Author
  • Tyler Godwin
  • Editor
  • Derek Sands
  • Commodity
  • Coal Electric Power Natural Gas

Houston — US power generation from coal totaled a six-month high 87.85 TWh in February, up 7.4% from January and 56.6% higher than the year-ago month, Energy Information Administration data showed April 27.

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It was the eighth increase in the last 10 months for coal generation. The latest month was also up 10.5% from the five-year average for the corresponding month and was the highest total for the corresponding month since 92.71 TWh in February 2016, according to EIA data released April 27.

Total US power generation during February was at 327.02 TWh, down 6.8% from the prior month but 2.8% higher than the year-ago month.

Coal made up a 25-month high 26.9% of the power generation in February, while natural gas generation was also at a 25-month low 34.1%, compared with 23.3% and 35.7%, respectively, in January. In the year-ago month, coal's share was at 17.6% and gas was at 39.5%.

It was the sixth time in the last eight months that coal outpaced both nuclear and renewable, including hydroelectric, generation.

In 2020, coal made up 19.3% of the power mix, while natural gas, nuclear and renewables made up 40.3%, 19.7% and 19.8%, respectively.

Coal-fired power plants operated at a 30-month high 60.7% capacity factor, up from 51.5% in January and 36.4% in the year-ago month.

Natural gas generation in February was at 111.67 TWh, down 10.9% from a month earlier and 11.1% lower than the year-ago month.

Natural gas plants operated at a 50.9% capacity factor in February, down from 54.4% in January and 58.8% in the year-ago month.

Nuclear generation in February was at 62.95 TWh, down 12.4% from January and 4.5% lower than a year earlier. Nuclear made up 19.3% of the total generation in February, down from 20.5% in January and 20.7% in February 2020.

Renewables fall to four-month low

Generation from renewables, including hydro and solar, was at a four-month low 60.99 TWh in February, down 11.1% from January and 9.5% lower than the year-ago month.

Renewable's power generation share was at 18.7%, down from 19.6% in January and 21.2% a year ago.

Wind generation fell to 26.67 TWh in February, down 12.3% on the month and 9.3% lower than a year ago, while total solar generation, including from solar photovoltaic and solar thermal, was at 6.5 TWh, up 13.4% from a month earlier and 14% higher than the year-ago month.

Generation from wind and solar made up 8.2% and 2% of the total power in February, respectively, compared with 8.7% and 1.6% in January, and 9.2% and 1.8% in the year-ago month.