Coal reigns despite gas surge, EIA says

Feb. 13, 2012 at 9:05 AM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Coal will remain the dominant source of electricity in the U.S. grid through the next decade though natural gas is making gains, the EIA said.

The U.S. Energy Information Agency said the United States is on pace to generate 39 percent more electricity from natural gas by 2035 than it did in 2010.

The United States has some of the richest deposits of natural gas in the world, with a good portion of that in shale rock formations. Environmental groups have expressed concerns about the methods used to extract shale natural gas, however.

The EIA said it expected green energy resources to generate 33 percent more electricity in 2035 than they did in 2010. Most of that would come from wind, solar, biomass and geothermal energy resources, the EIA predicted.

The agency said despite these trends, coal would remain a dominant source of electricity for the next several years.

"Coal remains the dominant source of electricity but its share drops from 45 percent in 2010 to 39 percent in 2035," the EIA said.

The EIA said its latest predictions assume no dramatic changes in U.S. laws and regulations in the energy sector.

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