Report: Natural gas surpasses coal for electrical power generating capacity
Combined-cycle natural gas power plants like the one that opened in South Huntingdon in December are tipping the scales of U.S. electrical power capacity more toward natural gas and away from coal, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday.
The EIA said that generating capacity from natural gas-fueled power plants like the Tenaska Westmoreland Generating Station surpassed the generating capacity of coal-fired power plants for the first time in 2018.
As of January, U.S. generating capacity at natural gas combined-cycle power plants totaled 264 gigawatts, compared with 243 gigawatts at coal-fired power plants, the EIA said.
Unlike steam and combustion turbines, combined-cycle units heat up fuel and use the fuel-air mixture to spin gas turbines and generate electricity. The waste heat from the gas turbine is used to generate steam for a steam turbine that generates additional electricity, according to the EIA.
As of the end of 2018, combined-cycle power plants accounted for about half of all U.S. natural gas-fired generating capacity, but they provided almost 90% of total natural gas-fired generation, the EIA said.
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, [email protected] or via Twitter .