Natural gas consumed by electric power plants in the US set a new record in late July due to high summer temperatures, the country's Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Electricity demand in response to high summer temperatures throughout much of the country, relatively low natural gas prices, the start of new natural gas-fired capacity, and greater use of existing natural gas-fired capacity have contributed to increased natural gas consumption in the electric power sector,” the EIA said.
Natural gas consumed by electric power plants (power burn) set a daily record high of 47.2 billion cubic feet (bcf) on Monday, July 27, the EIA said attributing to estimates of S&P Global Platts.
The previous record for US natural gas power burn to generate electricity was 45.4 bcf set on Aug. 6, 2019.
The agency said the natural gas-fired generation in the lower 48 states, excluding Alaska and Hawaii, also reached an all-time high of 316 gigawatts (GW) on the same day.
Natural gas is a vital option for power production, as it can provide power at any time, even at times of high demand. In contrast, some technologies for renewable energy and nuclear power plants may be non-dispatchable and unable to adapt their output to meet peak demand.
In the past few years, the US energy market has switched towards more gas-fired and renewable-powered generation, and away from coal-fired and nuclear-powered generation.
A total of 103 coal-fired power plants with a total capacity of 22.2 GW were replaced or converted to natural gas, mainly in the eastern half of the country, between 2011 and 2019.
By Sibel Morrow