The US converted 121 coal-fired power plants in order to burn other types of fuels between 2011 and 2019, according to a statement by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday.
Out of those 121 plants, a total of 103 was converted to or replaced by natural gas-fired plants in the country.
At the end of 2010, coal-fired capacity in the US was 316.8 gigawatts (GW). By the end of 2019, 49.2 GW of that amount was retired, while 14.3 GW were converted to burn natural gas, and 15.3 GW was replaced with natural gas combined cycle.
"The decision for plants to switch from coal to natural gas was driven by stricter emission standards, low natural gas prices, and more efficient new natural gas turbine technology," the statement said.
There are two different methods to switch coal-fired plants to natural gas. The first is to retire the coal-fired plant and replace it with a new natural gas-fired combined-cycle (NGCC) plant, the EIA said.
The second method is to convert the boiler of a coal-fired steam plant to burn other types of fuel, such as natural gas, it added.
Between 2011 and 2019, a total of 17 coal-fired plants adopted the first method, replacing old coal-fired power plants with new NGCC plants. The new NGCC plants have a total generating capacity of 15.3 GW, which is 94% more than the 7.9 GW capacity of the coal-fired power plants they replaced.
The EIA noted that the increase in capacity is a result of the advanced turbine technology installed in NGCC plants.
Between those years, a total of 104 coal-fired plants adopted the second method, converting the steam boiler to burn other fuels, most commonly natural gas.
By Ovunc Kutlu