EIA's Electric Power Monthly - July 2019 Edition With Data For May

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Includes: BOIL, DGAZ, KOLD, TAN, UGAZ, UNG, UNL
by: Ron Patterson
Summary

In May, the absolute amount of electricity generated increased, as is usual for the month of May when compared to April for the period covered by the charts, January 2013 to date. Coal and Natural Gas between them, fueled 57.13% of US electricity generation in May.

The contribution of zero carbon or carbon neutral sources declined from 43.73% in Aprl to 41.85% in May.

In May 2019, the estimated total output from solar at 10,874 GWh, was 2.79 times what it was four years ago in May 2015.

In May, Natural Gas contributed 85.12% of new capacity, with 2.74% of new capacity coming from Solar and Wind contributing 11.64%.

Batteries contributed 0.25% with Conventional Hydroelectric contributing 0.17% and Landfill Gas the remaining 0.07% of new capacity. Natural Gas, Solar and Wind made up 99.5% of new capacity in May.

By Islandboy

The EIA released the latest edition of their Electric Power Monthly on July 24th, with data for May 2019. The table above shows the percentage contribution of the main fuel sources to two decimal places for the last two months and the year 2019 to date. In April, the EIA in their Short-Term Energy Outlook projected that the contribution from All Renewables would exceed that from Coal for the first time ever in April and possibly in May. While that turned out to be the case in April, in May electricity generation from coal was slightly greater than the amount generated by All Renewables and the EIA expects Coal to generate more than All Renewables each month through to April 2019.

The Table immediately above shows the absolute amounts of electricity generated in gigawatt-hours by the main sources for the last two months and the year to date. In May, the absolute amount of electricity generated increased, as is usual for the month of May when compared to April for the period covered by the charts, January 2013 to date. Coal and Natural Gas between them, fueled 57.13% of US electricity generation in May. The contribution of zero carbon or carbon neutral sources declined from 43.73% in April to 41.85% in May.

The 10.874 GWh generated by Solar in May, is a record, slightly exceeding the previous record of 10.869 GWh set in June 2018. It can be expected that this record will again be exceeded in June 2019.

The graph below shows the absolute monthly production from the various sources as well as the total amount generated (right axis).

The chart below shows the total monthly generation at utility scale facilities by year versus the contribution from solar. The left-hand scale is for the total generation, while the right-hand scale is for solar output and has been deliberately set to exaggerate the solar output as a means of assessing it's potential to make a meaningful contribution to the midsummer peak. In May 2019, the estimated total output from solar at 10,874 GWh, was 2.79 times what it was four years ago in May 2015.

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The chart below shows the total monthly generation at utility scale facilities by year versus the combined contribution from wind and solar. The left-hand scale is for the total generation, while the right-hand scale is for combined wind and solar output and has been deliberately set to exaggerate the combined output of solar and wind as a means of assessing the potential of the combination to make a meaningful contribution to the year-round total.

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The chart below shows the percentage contributions of the various sources to the capacity additions up to May 2019. In May, Natural Gas contributed 85.12% of new capacity, with 2.74% of new capacity coming from Solar and Wind contributing 11.64%. Batteries contributed 0.25% with Conventional Hydroelectric contributing 0.17% and Landfill Gas the remaining 0.07% of new capacity. Natural Gas, Solar and Wind made up 99.5% of new capacity in May. Natural gas and renewables have made up more than 95% of capacity added each month since at least January 2017.

In May 2019, the total added capacity reported was 1974.2 MW, compared to the 3329.7 MW added in May 2018.

The chart below shows the monthly capacity retirements up to May 2019. In April, among the retirements reported were 750 MW of Coal-fired capacity at the Conesville plant in Ohio, owned by AEP Generation Resources Inc., consisting of two steam turbines. Entergy's Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Massachusetts retired 677.2 MW of capacity. Of the remaining retired capacity 21.9 MW consisted of five hydroelectric units retired by the Portland General Electric Co. in Oregon. The only other capacity retired was a 15 MW Wood/Wood Waste Biomass fueled plant owned by Northern States Power Co. in Minnesota and a pair of 10 MW natural gas-fueled combustion the Southern Indiana Gas & Elec Co. in Indiana.

Below is a chart for monthly net additions/retirements showing the data up to May 2019, followed by a chart showing the net additions/retirements year to date.

Below is a table of the top ten states in order of coal consumption for electricity production for May 2019 and the year before for comparison

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Editor's Note: The summary bullets for this article were chosen by Seeking Alpha editors.