Coal, Hydroelectric, Nuclear

EIA trends

1 March 2010– Power generation and natural gas use in the Lower 48 United States increased in December 2009 compared with the same month a year earlier. Coal use fell in the same time period. The trends were reported by the Energy Information Administration.

According to the federal statistical agency, total electric power generation across the 48 states rose 1.6 percent from December 2008. Nuclear power generation fell 3.4 percent and hydro generation rose 18.8 percent in the same time period. The rise in hydro was credited to record-setting precipitation totals from the fall of 2009 through December 2009.

Average U.S. retail electric prices fell 2 percent in December 2009 compared to the same month a year earlier. The decrease was attributed in part to lower fuel costs for natural gas used in power generation.

Coal consumption in power generation fell 1.4 percent in December 2009 compared to December 2008. Natural gas consumption, by contrast, rose10.4 percent. Over the same time period, coal production fell 0.7 percent and natural gas production increased 10.8 percent. Coal stocks in the electric power sector decreased 6.7 percent between November 2009 and December 2009.