Coal-fired power generation still major electricity source in U.S. Central region

Although coal-fired power generation in the Central region of the U.S. has dropped since the early 2000s, it continues to be the major source of electricity in the area, according to a report from the Energy Information Administration.

More than 60 percent of electricity in the Central region of the U.S. comes from coal-fired electric generators, which is a decrease from 80 percent in the early part of the 2000s, the EIA reported. Coal-fired units in the region primarily burn relatively inexpensive Power River Basin coal.

The pricing of PRB coal and the limited amount of combined cycle natural gas-fired capacity in the region has helped mitigate the decline of coal’s share of total generation, the EIA stated. The administration noted, however, a period of very low natural gas prices in the spring of 2012 increased the amount of natural gas use, and there has also been an increase in renewable generation in the region, mostly from wind power projects in the Plains states.