Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Stunning Fact: Expensive Natural Gas Spurs 1.4 Million Megawatts Of Proposed Coal Plants Around World

While gas and renewables are dominating the new generation market in the USA, around the world it is new coal and renewables that are market leaders for new generation capacity. Indeed, more than 1.4 million megawatts of proposed coal plants are on the global drawing boards.

The proposed 1.4 million megawatts of new coal globally is more electric generation than of all types in the USA.  It is a huge number.

So why are new coal plants and coal use surging globally but struggling in the USA? The price of natural gas, the chief competitor for coal, tells the tale.

In the USA, natural gas yesterday closed at the Henry Hub at $3.19 for a thousand cubic feet, an incredibly low price for the middle of the US winter.  That low US natural gas price is a product of the shale revolution and only the shale revolution.

Meanwhile, in Europe and Asia, natural gas costs from $9 to $16 or as much as 5 times the US price.

Coal is booming nearly everywhere in the world for the simple reason that it is a cheaper way to make electricity in most nations, other than those in the Middle East and North America.

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