U.S. Energy Information Administration
Recently published electric power data show that, for the first time since the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) began collecting the data, generation from natural gas-fired plants in April 2012 was virtually equal to generation from coal-fired plants, with each fuel providing 32% of total generation. Preliminary data for April show net electric generation from natural gas was 95.9 million megawatthours, only slightly below generation from coal, at 96.0 million megawatthours. The EIA report notes that there are strong seasonal trends in the overall demand for electric power. In April, demand was low due to the mild spring weather. Also in April, natural gas prices as delivered to power plants were at a ten-year low. EIA predicts that with warmer summer weather and increased electric demand for air conditioning, demand will increase, requiring increased output from both coal- and natural gas-fired generators.