Coal-fired Electricity Generation Down 10 Percent in Past Decade

DALLAS (February 19, 2013) — Natural gas is poised to replace coal as the most cost-effective fuel for electricity generation according to a new report from the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA). 

“Despite an abundance of coal, advances in hydrofracturing technology have precipitated a rise in natural gas production, which may lead to the decline of coal,” says study lead author and NCPA Adjunct Scholar Carl Johnston.

“Over the long term, natural gas’ multiple uses should result in both increased demand and higher prices. With existing coal reserves and technology, this growth would not necessarily result in higher overall energy prices.  However, without changes in of public policy, the increasingly burdensome regulation of coal will rob consumers of the full benefits of relatively inexpensive and abundant natural gas and coal reserves,” argued co-author NCPA Senior Fellow, H. Sterling Burnett.

Burnett also believes that “the long-term viability of coal is threatened by the massive regulatory burden imposed on coal power plants. New regulations could force about 12 percent of current coal-fired electric power generating capacity to shut down by 2020.”

The study concludes that while the shale gas revolution is a good development, coal should not be abandoned or overregulated given its abundance and stable inexpensive price.

Coal: Beginning the Long Goodbye by Carl Johnston, H. Sterling Burnett and Lewis Warne;