Thanks in part to low prices and environmental regulations, natural gas has almost caught up to coal as a source of electric power in the United States, the Energy Information Administration says.
In its Short-Term Energy Outlook issued May 12, EIA said projected coal generation in April and May will put its share of total generation just 1.2 percentage points higher than natural gas.
For the second quarter of 2015, the agency estimated coal will generate 3.6 million megawatt-hours of electricity per day, with natural gas close behind at 3.4 million MWh.
That convergence of fuels has happened only once before, EIA said. In April 2012, natural gas fell just 1.5 percent short of U.S. electric generation from coal—the last time natural gas prices hit a low.