Facing coal retirements, Western utilities turn to cheap natural gas

By Robert Walton, Utility Dive.

  • Amid a glut of cheap gas, utilities in the West are turning to natural gas as a bridge fuel as they phase out coal and continue to embrace renewable energy, Argus reports. 
  • Several Western utilities have added increasing amounts of gas-fired power into their generation mixes, allowing them to phase out some coal and reduce startup costs when plants fire back up in the morning. 
  • Gas' share of generation has been slowly gaining momentum, and at times has exceeded coal generation. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said that in July the country generated more power from gas during the month, albeit just barely and only for the second time ever.