Report: Coal Production To Drop 25%, Gas Production To Increase 800% By 2017

A new 164-page report released this week by DEP shows coal production will drop by 25 percent and natural gas production will increase nearly 800 percent by 2017 (using 2000 as a base year) causing a significant shift in the mix of fuels used in Pennsylvania to produce electricity and for other uses.

Projections in the report show that by 2017 coal and nuclear power plants are likely to be tied in terms of their share of the electric generation market, with the use of natural gas increasing at the rate of 19.3 percent a year, twenty times the volume used to generate electricity in 2000 (54 billion kilowatt hours vs. 2.7 billion in 2000).

The report notes in 2000, renewable sources contributed an estimated 5.0 million megawatt hours of electricity generation in Pennsylvania. By 2011, the volume of electricity generated by renewable sources increased to 7.4 million megawatt hours. This growth is more substantial than in any of Pennsylvania’s neighboring states.

The report concludes, “The implications of implementing forward-looking energy strategies in Pennsylvania are simply massive. Sound policy would promote greater energy exports, enhanced efficiency, an improved local and global environment, job creation, income formation and associated business development opportunities. This report serves as a foundational element to the strategies that will ultimately be developed, refined and implemented in the Commonwealth.”

The report was completed in February by a consultant, Commonwealth Economics LLC, and forms the information base on which a State Energy Plan will be completed.  The Plan is likely to be released later this year.

A copy of the report is available online.


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