US electricity generation up 7% in May

US net electricity generation in May grew a hefty 7%, compared to the corresponding period in 1999, the Energy Information Agency reported Tuesday. Net generation was up 4% during the first 5 months of 2000 from a year ago.


US net electricity generation in May grew a hefty 7%, compared to the corresponding period in 1999, the Energy Information Agency reported Tuesday.

Net generation was up 4% during the first 5 months of 2000 from a year ago. US net generation of electricity totaled 1.5 trillion kw-hr between January-May 2000, the agency said. About 51% of the generation was produced by coal-fired plants, followed by nuclear, 20%; gas, 15%; hydro, 8%; renewable energy, 3%; and oil, 2%.

Generation from coal, nuclear, gas, and hydro was above the amount reported for the same period in 1999, by 5, 8, 14, and 12%, respectively, the agency said.

During May, total US net generation of electricity was 314 billion kw-hr, 7% higher than the amount reported in May 1999. Electric utilities generated 253 billion kw-hr or 81% of the total and nonutility power producers generated 60 billion kw-hr or 19% of total generation.

At utilities, fossil fuels�primarily coal�accounted for 67% of net generation; followed by nuclear, 24%; and renewable resources, 10%. At nonutilities, fossil fuels�primarily natural gas�accounted for 82% of total generation; renewables, 15%; and nuclear, 3%.

Retail electricity sales to commercial customers in May 2000 were up a hefty 9%, compared to a year ago, while residential sales were up 8%. Industrial sector sales were slightly higher than reported in May 1999, EIA reported.

Receipts of gas totaled 200 bcf in April 2000, down from 229 bcf reported in April 1999. The EIA said the average cost of gas delivered to electric utilities was $3.16/MMbtu, compared to $2.25/MMbtu reported in April 1999.

Sale and reclassification of electric plants is having a substantial affect on gas data in New England, mid-Atlantic, and Pacific divisions, as well as at the national level, EIA said.

In comparison, the average delivered cost of fuel oil in April 2000 was $3.94/MMbtu, up from $2.18 per million Btu reported in April 1999. On a btu basis, oil prices are considerably higher than natural gas, making petroleum much less competitive as the fuel of choice for electric generation, EIA said.

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