The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported today the United States has set a new daily record high for natural gas use in the power sector. The EIA describes this increased usage in the summer months:
Higher electricity demand for air conditioning during a heat wave from July 15 through July 22 drove the increased power generation, especially from natural gas-fired generators. Although the highest temperatures occurred during the weekend, most states east of the Rocky Mountains experienced warmer-than-normal weather in the days leading up to the heat wave. From July 16 through July 21, the average maximum temperature exceeded 85°F in most parts of the country.
Natural gas is rapidly becoming the largest, most reliable and most affordable source of electricity generation for the U.S. Natural gas produced more than 35% of the country’s electricity in 2018. The EIA also reported late last year that carbon emissions from the power sector have declined 28% since 2005 – largely due to the increased use of natural gas for power generation.
EIA notes that “the substitution of natural gas for other fossil fuels has largely been market driven, as ample supplies of lower-priced natural gas and the relative ease of adding natural gas-fired capacity have allowed it to pick up share in electric power generation in many markets.” Increased investments in new and existing natural gas pipelines – such as the Rover, Nexus, and Atlantic Sunrise pipelines – have helped make this development possible by safely and efficiently moving Marcellus Basin natural gas to consumers and other end users.