Natural gas generation to remain second to coal

Despite the recent plunge in the price of the energy source, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that natural gas generation will remain secondary to coal-fueled generation, according to UPI.

Optimism has grown about the prospects for natural gas-fired power plants in the past few months as increasingly stringent environmental regulations have threatened to force the closure of several coal-fired plants, even as prices have fallen to their lowest point in more than a decade.

But the EIA projects that natural gas-fired generation is likely to grow around 39 percent from 2010 to 2035. The agency suggests that "Coal remains the dominant source of electricity but its share drops from 45 percent in 2010 to 39 percent in 2035."

Much of the difference is made by renewable energy sources, which will grow 33 percent in the same period.

Natural gas power plants have benefited recently from an unusually warm winter with low demand for heating fuel, along with a surge in production capacity caused by the boom in hydraulic fracturing. But many companies have already scaled back production as prices decline, suggesting the current situation will not continue.

Analyses of these unconventional natural gas resources can be found at PennEnergy's Research area.

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