EIA: gas-fired generation growth reasons vary by region
EIA projects that natural gas-fired electric power sector generation in the contiguous United States will increase to 1,600 million megawatt hours (MWh) by 2040, a 1.3% average annual increase. This growth is spread throughout the Lower 48 states, and the reasons for the growth vary by region.
For the United States, increasing natural gas supply results in unexpected future growth in natural gas-fired electric generation, particularly after 2020. Total U.S. natural gas production increases 56% from 2012 to 2040, largely because of the development of shale gas, tight gas, and offshore natural gas resources.
The three regions with the highest growth in natural gas-fired generation, SERC, RFC, and WECC, also have the highest overall amounts of coal-fired generation. Coal-fired generation still grows significantly in SERC Reliability Corporation (SERC) and ReliabilityFirst Corporation (RFC), despite significant retirements of coal-fired capacity, and the increased cost of building new coal-fired facilities. In the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC), natural gas-fired power competes with renewable sources for future electric power demand, while in the Texas Reliability Entity (TRE) region, natural gas accounts for almost all the growth in new generation.
Source: EIA, August 18, 2014