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  1. Natural gas expected to surpass coal in mix of fuel used for U.S. power generation in 2016

    For decades, coal has been the dominant energy source for generating electricity in the United States. EIA's  Short-Term Energy Outlook  (STEO) is now forecasting that 2016 will be the first year that natural gas-fired generation exceeds coal generation in the United States on an annual basis. Natural gas generation first surpassed coal generation on a monthly basis  in April 2015 , and the generation shares for coal and natural gas were nearly identical in 2015, each providing about one-third of all electricity generation. The mix of fuels used for electricity generation has  evolved over time . The recent decline in the generation share of coal, and the concurrent rise in the share of natural gas, was mainly a market-driven response to lower natural gas prices that have made natural gas generation more economically attractive. Between 2000 and 2008, coal was significantly less expensive than natural gas, and coal supplied about 50% of total U.S. generation. However, beginning in 2009, the gap between coal and natural gas prices narrowed, as large amounts of natural gas produced from shale formations changed the balance between supply and demand in U.S. natural gas markets. Coal and natural gas generation shares over the past decade have been responsive to changes in relative fuel prices. For example, particularly low natural gas prices throughout much of 2012 following an extremely mild 2011–12 winter led to a significant rise in the natural gas generation share between 2011 and 2012, often displacing coal-fired generation. With higher natural gas prices in 2013 and 2014, coal regained some of its generation share. However, with a return to lower natural gas prices in 2015 favoring increased natural gas-fired generation, coal's generation share dropped again. Environmental regulations affecting power plants have played a secondary role in driving coal's declining generation share over the past decade, although plant owners in some states have made investments to shift generation toward natural gas at least partly for environmental reasons. Looking forward, environmental regulations may play a larger role in conjunction with market forces. Owners of some coal plants will face decisions to either retire units or reduce their utilization rate to comply with requirements to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants under the Clean Power Plan, which is scheduled to take effect in 2022 but has recently been stayed by the Supreme Court pending the outcome of ongoing litigation. Beyond the growing market share for natural gas-fired generation over the past decade, coal's generation share has also been reduced by the growing market share of renewables other than hydroelectric power, especially wind and solar. Unlike the growth of natural gas-fired generation, which has largely been market-driven, increased use of nonhydro renewables has largely been driven by a combination of state and federal policies. The use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar has also grown rapidly in recent years so that generation from these  types of renewables is now surpassing generation from hydropower . The  March 2016 STEO  expects that the combination of market forces and government policies will continue to stimulate the use of natural gas and nonhydro renewables for power generation. In EIA's forecast, natural gas provides 33% of generation in 2016 while coal's share falls to 32%. The expected share of nonhydro renewables increases to 8% in 2016, with hydropower's share at 6%. Principal contributor:  Tyler Hodge

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    Wed, 16 Mar 2016

  2. HG&T receives funds to upgrade Massachusetts' 30-MW Hadley hydropower plant

    A $1 million grant from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources will allow the City of Holyoke to rehabilitate a generating unit at its 30-MW Hadley Falls hydropower plant.

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    Wed, 16 Mar 2016

  3. North Carolina reverses safety warning on well water near Duke ash dumps

    North Carolina is reversing warnings about water that health officials said was too polluted to drink and now reassuring residents who live near pits that hold waste from decades of burning coal for electric power that their well water is safe

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    Fri, 18 Mar 2016

  4. L-3 Mapps to Help in Darlington Nuclear Plant Refurbishment Project

    L-3 Mapps will contribute computers for the refurbishment project at the Darlington nuclear power plant in Ontario, Canada.

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    Thu, 10 Mar 2016

  1. With coal and gas down, West Virginia faces budget quandary

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    Mon, 7 Mar 2016

  2. Natural gas to coal generation plans scrapped by NRG

    Louisiana Generating, a subsidiary of NRG Energy has scrapped plans to convert its 230 MW Big Cajun I natural gas-fired power plant to coal generation .

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    Thu, 12 Apr 2012

  3. Duke to purchase NCEMPA nuclear, coal generation assets

    Duke Energy Progress to purchase the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Agency's ownership in certain nuclear and coal generating assets representing approximately 700 MW of capacity.

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    Mon, 28 Jul 2014

  4. ITC: Transmission a must for EPA Clean Power Plan to work

    The Clean Power Plan is purported to be a game-changer for the industry with large changes in generation portfolios

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    Wed, 23 Dec 2015

  5. EPA CO2 Plan Will be Costly, According to Energy Ventures Report

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan will significantly drive up prices for both electric power and natural gas, according to a study by Virginia-based Energy Ventures Analysis (EVA) for the National Mining Association (NMA).

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    Wed, 25 Nov 2015

  6. EPA CO2 plan will be costly, according to report by mining trade group

    46 states expected to see double-digit increases in wholesale energy costs

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    Wed, 25 Nov 2015

  7. A View of Canadian Hydroelectric Generation Markets

    Canada has immense natural resources with which to produce hydroelectric energy and this article provides an overview of the Canadian hydropower marketplace and where it is headed. 

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    Fri, 29 Jan 2016

  8. Clean Power Plan ruling bad credit news for coal states, says Moody’s

    The denial is credit negative for big coal-fired generators such as NRG Energy 

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    Tue, 26 Jan 2016

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