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Gas share in US electricity generation approached 40% in October

Electricity powered by natural gas grew year over year in October as generation from all other fuel groups declined.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's latest "Electric Power Monthly" released Dec. 26, utility-scale generation net of hydroelectric pumped storage increased 1.6% year over year in October to 325.9 million MWh.

Over the same period, gas-fired generation climbed 16.1% to 124.0 million MWh, accounting for 38.1% of the net total. Coal-fired generation declined 2.6% versus the prior-year period to 87.5 million MWh, to account for 26.8% of the nation's electricity.

Renewable output declined 5.7% year over year to 51.6 million MWh as growth among renewable resources was mixed.

Year-to-date through October, utility-scale generation climbed 4.4% to 3.53 billion MWh, with coal supplying 27.1% of the nation's power and natural gas supplying 35.6%. So far, renewable generation has supplied 17.0% of the nation's power, even with a year earlier.

Over the same period, coal-fired generation declined 5.1% year over year to 956.6 million MWh, while gas-fired generation climbed 15.2% to 1.26 billion MWh. Renewable generation grew 4.3% to 599.4 million MWh.

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Power-sector coal stockpiles increased by 4.5 million tons during the month, below the 10-year average build of 7.6 million tons. During the prior 10 years, October stockpile fluctuations versus the prior month have ranged from a build of 1.5 million tons to a build of 13.5 million tons.

The EIA estimates that the October stockpile level of 105.2 million tons translates to 82 days of burn and 80 days of burn, respectively, for bituminous and sub-bituminous coal, 3.1% below and 11.4% above the five-year averages for the month.

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