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Agency: Coal losing market share in U.S. as source of electricity

Stephen Huba
| Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, 4:03 p.m.
The Bruce Mansfield Plant in Shippingport, Beaver County, is FirstEnergy’s largest coal-fired power plant but is slated for closure in 2021.
Tribune-Review
The Bruce Mansfield Plant in Shippingport, Beaver County, is FirstEnergy’s largest coal-fired power plant but is slated for closure in 2021.

Power plants that use fossil fuels continue to be the most common source of electricity in the United States, but the number of states where coal is predominant has dropped from 28 to 18 since 2007, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration .

In all but 15 states, coal, natural gas or petroleum liquids were the most-used electricity generation fuel in 2017. Since 2007, the number of states where coal was the most prevalent electricity generation fuel has fallen, as natural gas, nuclear and hydroelectricity have gained market share, the EIA said.

In 2017, natural gas had the largest generation share in 16 states — up from 11 in 2007. For the United States as a whole, natural gas provided 32 percent of total electricity generation in 2017 — slightly higher than coal’s 30 percent share, the EIA said.

In the 10 states that were primarily generating electricity from coal in 2007 but not 2017, five of those states are now primarily generating electricity from natural gas and five primarily from nuclear. Those changes have occurred as coal-fired power plants have retired or been used less, and as natural gas-fired power plants have been built and used more nationwide, the EIA said.

The natural gas-powered Tenaska Westmoreland Generating Station near Smithton, now in the final stages of construction, is scheduled to come online in December.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, shuba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shuba_trib.

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