Since Q2 2012, higher prices for natural gas coupled with heightened electricity demand during the summer prompted systems nationwide to bolster coal-fired units. In Q1 2013, coal-fired units generated slightly more than 130,000 megawatt hours of electricity. Gas-fired facilities, on the other hand, produced 85,000 megawatt hours. As the spring has approached and the demand for electricity has fallen, higher gas prices reduced its total generation share below 2012’s record Q2 levels, the EIA reported.
Still, coal’s generation market share remained below its typical pre-2009 levels. Between 2001 and 2008, coal’s annual share ranged from 48% to 51%. Coal last achieved a 50% share in 2005, and is expected to be 40% in 2013, according to the federal agency.