Generation: Net generation in the United States rose 8.0 percent from June 2009 to June 2010. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand (REDTI) was the second highest June value on record as “the unusual warmth in the highly populated South and Southeast” weighed heavily. The Federal Reserve reported that industrial production was 8.2 percent higher than it had been in June 2009, the sixth consecutive month that industrial production was higher than it had been in the corresponding months of the previous year.

The rise in coal-fired generation was the largest absolute fuel-specific increase from June 2009 to June 2010 as it was up 17,483 thousand megawatthours or 11.8 percent, and represented over three-fifths of the overall national rise in generation. Texas, Ohio, Alabama, and Pennsylvania showed the biggest gains over June 2009, but the gains were widespread as only 8 of the 48 States reporting coal-fired generation showed lower totals in June 2010. Natural gas-fired generation was second to coal as it was up 8,121 thousand megawatthours, or 9.6 percent. New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Louisiana accounted for 62.0 percent of the national increase. Nuclear generation was down 2.1 percent or 1,434 thousand megawatthours – the largest absolute fuel-specific decline – as there were refueling outages at the Davis Besse, Crystal River, and H B Robinson plants that led to generation totals for these three plants that were far below what they had been in June 2009.

Generation from conventional hydroelectric sources increased 0.6 percent, or 164 thousand megawatthours. The higher level of hydroelectric generation in California was by far the largest contributor to the national rise. Generation from wind was up 44.2 percent, or 2,388 thousand megawatthours. Wind was the energy source with the third-highest absolute megawatthour increase over June 2009. Increased wind generation in Texas, Washington, Kansas, and Oklahoma accounted for 55.1 percent of the national rise. Petroleum liquid-fired generation was up 28.8 percent compared to a year ago, but its overall share of net generation continued to be quite small compared to coal, nuclear, natural gas-fired, and hydroelectric sources. Figure 1 shows net generation by month for the last 12 months.

Figure 1: Net Generation by Major Energy Source:
Total (All Sectors), July 2009 through June 2010

Year-to-date, total net generation increased 3.4 percent from 2009 levels. Net generation attributable to coal-fired plants rose 6.2 percent. Natural gas-fired generation was up 5.2 percent. Nuclear generation declined 1.3 percent, and petroleum liquid-fired generation was down 23.4 percent.

Year-to-date, coal-fired plants contributed 45.9 percent of the power generated in the United States. Natural gas-fired plants contributed 21.8 percent, and nuclear plants contributed 19.9 percent. Of the 0.9 percent contributed by petroleum-fired plants, petroleum liquids represented 0.6 percent, with the remainder from petroleum coke. Conventional hydroelectric sources provided 6.8 percent of the total, while other renewables (biomass, geothermal, solar, and wind) and other miscellaneous energy sources generated the remaining 4.4 percent of electric power (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Net Generation Shares by Energy Source:
Total (All Sectors), Year-to-Date through June, 2010

Consumption of Fuels: Consumption of coal for power generation in June 2010 was up 10.4 percent compared to June 2009. Consumption of natural gas rose 10.0 percent. For the same time period, consumption of petroleum liquids was up 27.9 percent, while petroleum coke rose 15.2 percent.