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Natural gas edges coal again in 2017 as top US generating fuel: EIA

Houston — Natural gas has topped coal for the second straight year as the top generating fuel source in the US, according to Energy Information Administration data.

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Gas accounted for 31.7% (1,352 TWh) of US generation in 2017 compared to coal at 30.1% (1,334 TWh), the EIA estimated in its Monthly Power Report released late Tuesday.

Gas made up 33.8% (1,378 TWh) of generation and coal 30.4% (1,240 TWh) in 2016, when gas first overtook coal as the nation's top utility fuel source.

Coal topped gas as the top generating fuel in only three months of 2017 -- January, February and December.

Coal edged gas by the slightest of margins in the final month of the year, taking a 30.8% share of generation compared to gas at 30.7%.

Nuclear accounted for 20% (805 TWh) of generation in 2017, essentially flat versus 19.7% (805 TWh) in 2016.

Renewables made up 17.1% (687 TWh) of generation in 2017, up from 14.9% (608 TWh) in 2016.

--Jim Levesque, jim.levesque@spglobal.com
--Edited by Lisa Miller, lisa.miller@spglobal.com