Natural gas accounted for the largest share of U.S. electricity generation in March.
Utility-scale generation net of hydroelectric pumped storage increased 0.7% year over year in March to 323.6 million MWh, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's latest "Electric Power Monthly" released May 24.
In March, gas-fired generation climbed 7.3% to 112.6 million MWh, accounting for 34.8% of the net total. Coal-fired generation declined 2.7% versus the prior-year period to 78.5 million MWh to account for 24.2% of the nation's electricity.
Renewable output declined 2.1% year over year to 63.9 million MWh as growth among renewable resources was mixed.
Year-to-date through March, utility-scale generation declined 0.7% to 995.3 million MWh, with coal supplying 26.1% of the nation's power and natural gas supplying a 34.4% share. Renewable generation supplied 18.0% of the nation's power, compared with 18.8% a year earlier.
Over the same period, coal-fired generation declined 7.8% year over year to 259.5 million MWh, while gas-fired generation climbed 10.0% to 341.9 million MWh. Renewable generation declined 4.9% to 179.1 million MWh.
Power-sector coal stockpiles fell by 1.6 million tons during the month, against the 10-year average build of 4.5 million tons. During the prior 10 years, March stockpile fluctuations versus the prior month have ranged from a draw of 3.8 million tons to a build of 13.6 million tons.
The EIA estimated that the March stockpile level of 97.1 million tons translates to 89 days of burn and 74 days of burn, respectively, for bituminous and subbituminous coal, which are 5.5% above and 14.4% below the five-year averages for the month.