EIA: Gas use for power generation increased by 7% in 2010

Natural gas use for power generation rose 7 percent, or about 515 billion cubic feet (Bcf), between 2009 and 2010, according to EIA. Most of the gains in the power sector were in the Eastern half of the country.

Total natural gas deliveries to consumers in the grew about 4 percent to around 22 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) for 2010. Use of natural gas in the industrial sector was up by 6 percent in 2010 but from a lower base than in the electric power sector.

The biggest changes in natural gas use occurred in the Southeast U.S., where state-level natural gas deliveries from 2009 to 2010 increased by between 5 percent and 24 percent. Historically low natural prices, coupled with weather-driven demand in the Southeast, increased natural gas deliveries for electricity generation. This region, which is highly dependent on natural gas-fired generation for electricity, experienced 17 percent higher heating degree days in the winter and 23 percent higher cooling degree days in summer compared to 30-year normal ranges.

In the Western U.S., natural gas deliveries decreased in most states. Increased hydroelectric generation in the Pacific Northwest, along with a cooler-than-normal summer weather, contributed to reduced natural gas demand for electricity generation in the region. 

In 2010, Lousiana led the nation in per-capita natural gas consumption overall due to a combination of its modest population of 4.5 million and the size of its industrial gas deliveries.

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