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Coal loses share to natural gas, wind, nukes in ERCOT in January

Houston — Wind, nuclear and natural gas-fired generators increased their shares of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas generation mix at the expense of coal plants in January, a report issued Thursday shows.

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Relatively lighter loads and lower natural gas prices may account for the change in fuel mix.

ERCOT's latest Demand and Energy Report shows that total energy supplied by the independent system operator totaled 27.3 TWh in January, down from 27.7 TWh in December and 27.5 TWh in January 2016.

At the ERCOT North Hub, the ISO's most liquid power market, on-peak electricity averaged $25.32/MWh in January, Platts data shows, compared with $28.55/MWh in December and $20.82/MWh in January 2016.

At the Houston Ship Channel, which serves as a benchmark for ERCOT, natural gas averaged $3.223/MMBtu in January, compared with $3.474/MMBtu in December and $2.211/MMBtu in January 2016.

Coal-fired plants supplied the largest amount of power in ERCOT in January at 35.6% -- down from 38.3% in December but up from 24.9% in January 2016.

Natural gas-fired plants supplied the next-largest percentage, at 29.9%, up from 29.6% in December but down sharply from 46.2% in January 2016.

Wind farms supplied the next-largest percentage, at 19.8%, up from 18% in December and 14.9% in January 2016.

Nuclear plants supplied the next-largest total, at 13.9%, up from 13.7% in December and 13.4% in January 2016.

Solar and hydropower each supplied 0.4% of ERCOT's power in January, up from 0.2% for each in December. In January 2016, solar supplied 0.2% and hydro supplied 0.3%.

January hit its monthly peakload on January 6 at 59,636 MW, while December hit its monthly peakload on December 19 at 57,924 MW, and January 2016's monthly peakload occurred January 11 at 49,263 MW.

--Mark Watson,

--Edited by Jason Lindquist,