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Natural gas set to top coal as primary power generator in US

August 13, 2012

Natural gas fired plants produced 32% of power generation in the US in May, nearly equaling the 34% produced by coal fired plants.  Coal has for decades been the primary source of power – just five years ago, coal produced 49% of US power – but it has been a target of environmentalists and regulators just as long, due to its dirty byproducts.  However, decades of increasingly tough regulations have been unable to wean the nation off of its appetite for coal.  It took the combined technological breakthroughs of modern hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling that opened up the massive reserves of shale natural gas and brought gas prices down.  The market has been able to accomplish in five years what politics and regulations could not achieve in five decades.  As we have written many times – climate change is a technological problem that demands a technological – not a political – solution.

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