April Was First Month Ever Natural Gas Generation Surpassed Coal Nationwide

April 2015 was the first month ever in which more electricity was produced from natural gas-fired generators than from coal-fired generators nationwide, according to data released last week by the EIA. The EIA’s monthly update includes data through April 2015, so we do not yet know how natural gas fared against coal in May and June.

In addition, this April saw the lowest amount of coal-fired generation in 32 years—not since April 1983 has coal-fired generation been as low as it was in April 2015.

The figure below shows a 25-month history of electricity generated from coal and natural gas. The shaded areas represent the minimum and maximum generation for each of these fuels from the previous five years (for example, the shaded area in April 2015 represents the minimum and maximum range of generation for each April from 2010 through 2014).

Figure 1. Monthly trends in coal and natural gas generation compared to previous five-year trend

Monthly trends in coal and natural gas generation