The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that growth of natural gas-fired generation in the contiguous United States will increase in the long-term, but the reasons for this growth will vary by North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) region. The growth will amount to 1,600 million megawatt-hours by 2040, a 1.3 percent average annual increase, with increasing natural gas supply resulting in unexpected growth, particularly after 2020. This supply increase will largely be due to the development of shale gas, tight gas and offshore natural gas resources.
The three regions with the highest growth in natural gas-fired generation will be SERC Reliability Corporation (SRC), Reliability First Corporation (RFC) and Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC). These regions also have the highest amounts of coal-fired generation.
In the SERC, natural gas-fired generation will benefit from higher overall growth in energy consumption, which will be supplied in greater portions by natural gas.
In the RFC, natural gas-fired generation will benefit from greater retirements in coal capacity, though overall coal-fired generation in the region will still grow due to greater access to low-priced coal from the Illinois Basin and western United States, relative to the SERC.
In the WECC, natural gas-fired power will compete with renewables for future demand.
In the Texas Reliability Entity (TRE), natural gas-fired generation will account for nearly all new generation growth.