ECOLEAF: Understanding Natural Gas Power Plants
In 2005, natural gas power plants consumed 5,869 billion cubic feet (Bcf), or 26% of natural gas production in the U.S. Below is a list of the peak highs and lows:
July 2005: 777 Bcf, $7.57 per thousand cf
Aug 2005: 791 Bcf, $8.67 per thousand cf
Jan 2005: 385 Bcf, $6.72 per thousand cf
Feb 2005: 331 Bcf, $6.72 per thousand cf
Since 2002, the price of the natural gas used to generate electric power in the U.S. has risen more than 200% due to the classic combination of limited supply and increased demand. This, however, has not yet stifled its growth: since 1992, almost all new power plants built in the U.S. have been natural-gas-fired plants. The baseline capacity level is now 200,000 MW—it’s been almost doubled. But there is a caveat: future plants will be 90% more expensive to build than they were in 2000. (The cost will be $1700 per kW of capacity.) Because coal continues to be a much cheaper material and because natural gas is such a scarce commodity (there’s also the fact that current natural gas plants are running at very low capacities) there are not many incentives to build new natural gas plants.
US Natural Gas Powered electricity consumption in 2005: 758 million MWh
US Natural Gas Capacity Usage in 2006: 38.3% of 388,294 MW
UNDERSTANDING NATURAL GAS POWER PLANTS
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