EIA: Nat Gas Generators Make Up 42% Of U.S. Generating Capacity

Combined-cycle units are most popular natural gas technology

Natural Gas Generation
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory

Natural gas continues to be the popular energy choice in the United States. Natural gas-fired generators comprise 42% of the operating electricity generating capacity in the country, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Natural gas also surpassed coal in 2016 to become the leading generation source for the United States, accounting for 34% of total electricity generation. Since 2005, natural gas generation has increased mainly because of its cost relative to coal, the EIA said.

The most popular natural gas-fired technology in 2016 was combined-cycle units, which produced 53% of the 449 GW of total U.S. natural gas-powered generator capacity.

Combined-cycle units, which have been common since the 1990s, are often used as baseload generation, operating throughout the day, the EIA said.

Natural gas-fired capacity has wide distribution across the United States. Every state except Vermont has at least one natural gas plant. Four states – Texas, California, Florida and New York – have 38% of the country’s natural gas-fired generation capacity, according to the EIA. Texas has the most natural gas-fired capacity of any state at 15% (69 GW) of the national total, with California and Florida each having 40 GW.