March 2016, Vol. 243, No. 3

Features

 Natural Gas Combined-Cycle Plant Use Exceeded Coal Plants in 2015

Last year marked the first time on record that the average capacity factor of natural gas combined-cycle plants exceeded that of coal steam plants. The power industry has been running natural gas combined-cycle generating units at much higher rates than just 10 years ago, while the utilization of the capacity at coal steam power plants has declined. The capacity factor of the U.S. natural gas combined-cycle fleet averaged 56% in 2015, compared with 55% for coal steam power plants. The mix of energy sources used in U.S. electricity generation has changed dramatically over the past few years. This change is particularly evident in the shift from the use of coal to natural gas for power genera

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