The share of generation fueled by coal in the US has declined dramatically in recent months.Coal’s share of total power generation first fell below 40 percent in November last year and averaged 36 percent during the first quarter of 2012,compared with an average of almost 45 percent during the same period last year.

Much of this reduction has resulted from the decreased utilisation of exciting coal-fired capacity,including some capacity that is scheduled to be retired during the next few years.

The reduction in coal generation has been offset by increased utilisation of natural gas combined cycle plants.EIA expects that the higher natural gas costs projected later in 2012 and in 2013,along with record coal stocks,will encourage generators to increase their utilisation of coal-fired power plants next year.

After a projected decline of 13 percent in 2012,EIA forecasts total generation by coal across all sectors to rise by 3 percent in 2013.

In contrast,total generation by natural gas is forecast to rise 22 percent this year and then rise by less then 1 percent in 2013.

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