Electric Power Monthly
May 24, 2010 - eia.doe.gov
Electric Power Monthly with data for February 2010
Report Released: May 14, 2010
Next Release Date: Mid-June 2010
Generation: Net generation in the United States rose 5.9 percent from February 2009 to February 2010. This was the third consecutive month that generation rose compared to the same calendar month in the prior year. The initial rise in December 2009 was the first such increase since July 2008. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand was 3.7 percent above average for February and was 4.1 percent above average for winter (December – February). The Federal Reserve reported that industrial production was 1.7 percent higher than it had been in February 2009. As such, February 2010 was the second consecutive month that industrial production was higher than it had been in the previous year and only the second since June 2008.
The rise in coal-fired generation was the largest absolute fuel-specific increase from February 2009 to February 2010 as it was up 11,814 thousand megawatthours or 8.3 percent. This increase is the second consecutive month, and second since July 2008, that coal-fired generation was higher than it had been in the same calendar month in the prior year, and as such, is a trend reversal that was similar to those seen in total generation and industrial production. Increased coal-fired generation in North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania accounted for 59.5 percent of the national increase. Natural gas-fired generation was the second largest absolute fuel-specific increase from February 2009 to February 2010 as it was up 3,483 thousand megawatthours. The rise in Texas alone was 3,368 thousand megawatthours for the same time period.
Generation from conventional hydroelectric sources also increased, as it was up 14.3 percent or 2,561 thousand megawatthours from February 2009. Increased hydroelectric generation in Alabama, Tennessee, the Carolinas, and Georgia accounted for 97.7 percent of the national increase. Of the winter as a whole, NOAA reports that “the season-long wet spell was notable for the Southeast as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina each had their eighth wettest winter” on record. Nuclear generation was up 1.6 percent, or 1,020 megwatthours. However, wind generation was down 10.0 percent as adverse weather conditions in the Midwest led to big drops in Minnesota, Iowa, and North Dakota. These three States accounted for 63.7 percent of the national decline in wind generation. Petroleum liquid-fired generation also decreased, as it was down 45.6 percent compared to a year ago, and its overall share of net generation continued to be quite small compared to coal, nuclear, natural gas-fired, and hydroelectric sources. Figure 1 shows net generation by month for the last 12 months.
Year-to-date, total net generation increased 3.4 percent from 2009 levels. Net generation attributable to coal-fired plants rose 4.2 percent. Natural gas-fired generation was up 10.8 percent. Conversely, nuclear generation declined 0.4 percent, and petroleum liquid-fired generation was down 37.9 percent.
Year-to-date, coal-fired plants contributed 48.2 percent of the power generated in the United States. Natural gas-fired plants contributed 20.5 percent, and nuclear plants contributed 20.3 percent. Of the 1.0 percent contributed by petroleum-fired plants, petroleum liquids represented 0.6 percent, with the remainder from petroleum coke. Conventional hydroelectric sources provided 6.3 percent of the total, while other renewables (biomass, geothermal, solar, and wind) and other miscellaneous energy sources generated the remaining 3.6 percent of electric power (Figure 2).
Consumption of Fuels: Consumption of coal for power generation in February 2010 was up 7.6 percent compared to February 2009. For the same time period, consumption of petroleum liquids was down 45.5 percent, while petroleum coke rose 5.3 percent. Consumption of natural gas rose 6.4 percent.
Fuel Stocks, Electric Power Sector, February 2010
Total electric power sector coal stocks increased between February 2009 and February 2010 by 8.2 million tons. Stocks of bituminous coal (including coal synfuel) rose 20.8 percent, or 13.6 million tons between February 2009 and February 2010 (from 65.5 million tons to 79.2 million tons). Subbituminous coal stocks fell 5.8 percent between February 2009 and February 2010 (from 90.1 to 84.9 million tons). February 2010 was the 18th consecutive month that coal stocks were higher than the same month in the prior year.
Electric power sector liquid petroleum stocks totaled 37.9 million barrels at the end of February 2010, a decrease of 6.1 percent (2.4 million barrels) from February 2009. February 2010 stocks were 2.1 percent (0.8 million barrels) higher than at the end of January 2010.
Fuel Receipts and Costs, All Sectors, February 2010
In February 2010, the price of coal and petroleum to electricity generators increased slightly from the previous month, while natural gas prices decreased. Receipts of all three categories of fossil fuels decreased from January to February 2010.
The average price paid for coal in February 2010 was $2.28 per MMBtu, up 2.7 percent from the price paid in January 2010 and only 0.4 percent higher when compared with February 2009. Receipts of coal in February 2010 were 74.7 million tons, down 3.3 percent when compared with January 2010 and 8.7 percent from February 2009. Low growth in electricity demand and higher than average inventories resulted in reduction of coal purchase while the coal plants continued stockpile drawdown for three months in a row.
The average price paid for petroleum liquids increased from $13.01 per MMBtu in January to $13.37 in February 2010. This was a 2.8-percent increase from January and a 71-percent increase from February 2009, reflecting the global economic slowdown, which slashed the petroleum prices by more than half during much of 2009. Receipts of petroleum liquids in February 2010 were 2.9 million barrels, a 48- percent decrease from January 2010 and 45.2–percent decrease from February 2009. In January 2010 demand of petroleum was higher due to record cold weather in most areas of the country. But in February 2010, in spite of the colder than normal winter, demand for oil was significantly down due to the still-struggling economy.
The average price paid for natural gas by electricity generators in February 2010 was $6.05 per MMBtu, a 9.8-percent decrease from the January 2010 level of $6.71 and a 12.2-percent increase from February 2009. The increase in the price for the same period last year was not that significant given the severe weather conditions, which usually contributes to high demand and a subsequent price escalation. The less than expected natural gas price rise this winter to a large extent was due to large working gas inventories. Receipts of natural gas were 571.9 million Mcf, down 12.6 percent from January 2010 and up 5.5 percent from February 2009.
The overall price paid by electricity generating plants for fossil fuels was $3.42 per MMBtu in February 2010, an 8.1-percent decrease from January 2010 and a 9.6-percent increase from February 2009 attributable to below normal petroleum and natural gas price during the same month last year.
Year-to-date (January through February) 2010 prices compared to the same period last year were up 67.3 percent for petroleum liquids and 8.8 percent for natural gas. There was no change in the coal price during this period. Year-to-date 2010 receipts (physical units) compared to the same period last year were down 40.8 percent for petroleum liquids and 10.3 percent for coal, while natural gas receipts rose 8.6 percent.
Sales, Revenue, and Average Retail Price, February 2010
The average retail price of electricity for February 2010 was 9.52 cents per kilowatthour (kWh), 1.8 percent higher than January 2010 when the average retail price of electricity was 9.35 cents per kWh, and 2.9 percent lower than February 2009, when the price was 9.80 cents per kWh. Retail sales between February 2009 and February 2010 increased 4.2 percent led by a 6.8-percent increase in the residential sector. The average price of residential electricity for February 2010 decreased 0.25 cents per kWh to 10.93 cents per kWh from February 2009 and was up from 10.54 cents per kWh in January 2010. At 10.93 cents per kWh, the average residential price of electricity decreased by 2.2 percent from February 2009.
Sales: For February 2010, sales in the residential sector increased by 6.8 percent over February 2009. A 4.1-percent increase in industrial sales over February 2009 shows a sustained recovery in the industrial sector. Industrial sales began showing positive month over same month prior year growth in January 2010. Sales in the commercial sector increased by 1.1 percent when compared to February 2009. For the month, total retail sales were 297.3 billion kWh, a decrease of 33.5 billion kWh from January 2010, and an increase of 4.2 percent or 11.8 billion kWh from February 2009.
Revenue: Total retail revenues in February 2010 were $28.3 billion, reflecting an increase in revenue of 1.2 percent from February 2009, and an 8.4-percent decrease from January 2010. For February 2010, residential sector retail revenues increased 4.5 percent from February 2009, while the commercial and industrial sector retail revenues decreased by 1.6 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.
Average Retail Price: For the month, the average residential retail price increased to 10.93 cents per kWh from 10.54 cents per kWh in January 2010, and it was 2.2 percent lower than February 2009 when the price was 11.18 cents per kWh. The February 2010 average commercial retail price was 9.89 cents per kWh, a 2.8-percent decrease from February 2009, while increasing 3.2 percent from January 2010. The average industrial retail price for February 2010 declined to 6.55 cents per kWh, a 5.3-percent decrease from February 2009, yet it rose by 0.2-percent from 6.54 cents per kWh in January 2010. Year-to-date 2010 average retail prices decreased to 9.43 cents per kWh, a 3.4-percent decrease over the same period for 2009 (Figure 4).
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Fuel Stocks -
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Fuel Receipts, Cost, and Quality -
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Sales Revenue and Average Retail Price of Electricity -
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