Houston (Platts)–28 Mar 2016 423 pm EDT/2023 GMT
In January, coal was the top fuel source of US power generation for the first time in seven months, the most recent EIA data showed.
In its Electricity Monthly Update released Thursday, the EIA reports coal accounted for 32.4%, or 113.8 TWh, of total US generation, compared to 31.3%, or 110 TWh, for natural gas.
In January 2015, coal accounted for 36.6% of generation compared to 28.2% for gas.
Gas last overtook coal as the nation’s top generation source in June 2015 and held the top spot each month the rest of the year. Increased gas burn and decreased coal burn through 2015 elevated utility coal stockpiles to 197.1 million st at the end of the year, according to the EIA.
The EIA estimated utility coal inventories were at 189.1 million st at the end of January 2016, down 4.1% from December’s total but up 34.4 million st, or 22.2%, from the same month a year ago.
Coal consumption in January was 62.2 million st, down about 9.1 million st, or 12.8%, from the year-ago month. Gas consumption in January was 808.5 Bcf, up 60.5 Bcf, or 8.1%, in the same period.