WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- The amount of coal used in Ohio to generate electricity declined as natural gas made gains in the state, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said.
The EIA said that while coal was still the dominant source of electric power generation in Ohio, its share of the overall sector declined for six consecutive years through 2011.
"Domestic natural gas production increased rapidly over the past several years, with much of the increase located in the Marcellus shale region in or near eastern Ohio," the EIA said in a statement.
The EIA said natural gas fueled 8 percent of the state's total power generation during the first nine months of 2011. The agency added that most of the natural gas-fired generators in Ohio were built after 1992 while most of the coal-fired generators were built before 1992.
"Growth in Ohio's natural gas generation … has come partly at the expense of coal generation," the EIA said.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich said during his State of the State address this month that, while moving into shale deposits like the Marcellus play carried some environmental risk, "we cannot let our fears outweigh the potential."
The EIA said it expected a substantial increase in drilling activities in the state's shale deposits.