Low gas prices are enabling utilities to rapidly approach compliance with the CSAPR, which has propelled natural gas demand for power generation to record highs.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

BENTEK's new Market Alert, Gas Burn Key as Emissions Fall in U.S., reports U.S. power generation from natural gas reached 32% of total fuel market share in May 2012, which is nearly equal to the 34% of coal-fired generation recorded for the same time period. Due to the lower emissions from natural gas power generation compared to coal, the increasing use of gas in the power sector is a key factor in helping states comply with the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which seeks to limit cross-state pollution in the form of SO2 and NOx emissions.

With the CSAPR scheduled to take effect in 2014 and low prices for natural gas leading to more gas burn, 175 coal-fired generators are expected to retire approximately 27 GW of capacity between 2012 and 2016, which amounts to more than 8% of total 2011 coal-fired capacity.

Gas Burn Key as Emissions Fall in U.S. is based on data from BENTEK’s GenCast, which refines actual hourly emissions, fuel usage and generation data from the EPA’s CEMS into a query-optimized format that enables analysis at every U.S. power plant boiler larger than 25 MW, including fuel switching. The GenCast database allows subscribers to look at power plants across the country, including those affected by CSAPR, and see which plants are compliant with the new federal rules and which plants are trending toward compliance.

Key takeaways from BENTEK’s Gas Burn Key as Emissions Fall in U.S. Market Alert:

• NOx and SO2 emissions from power generation have fallen 16% and 34%, respectively, in the past two years in states affected by the EPA’s CSAPR mandates. Low natural gas prices have enabled utilities to burn more gas and rapidly approach compliance with CSAPR.

• Scrubbers at coal plants have helped cut emissions, but a key factor has been increased use of natural gas, with gas burn up 23% year-to-date from 2011.

• BENTEK’s GenCast database, which includes the Continuous Emissions Monitoring System (CEMS), enables users to monitor changes in emissions and power plant utilization, among other metrics, by region, power company and plant across the U.S. The data shows that 18 of 28 states already are compliant with CSAPR SO2 targets.

This Market Alert includes dynamic graphs and charts that allow you to click through to an Analytical Storyboard, where you can watch these market developments unfold over time. This feature is for clients only. You must have a BENport account and use Internet Explorer to access this feature.


BENTEK's U.S. Power Burn Report provides a daily resource for U.S. gas demand in the power sector, including in-depth regional power burn analysis. This report provides year-on-year power burn demand comparisons as well as 14-day regional demand forecasts.

To learn more, please contact your BENTEK sales representative or call BENTEK Sales at 1-888-251-1264.