The official electric generation data for the first quarter of 2012 are in.
Coal only provided 36% of America’s electricity in the first quarter, down from 44.6% in the first quarter of 2011. That equates to a 20% loss of coal’s electricity generation market share in one year.
Coal’s loss was natural gas’s gain. Natural gas jumped 8 percentage points to 28.7% of America’s electricity in the first quarter of 2012 from 20.7% in the first quarter of 2011.
Tis is an extradoniary event for carbon emissions as EIA projects a 2.9% decline in carbon emissions this year. That decline means that US carbon emissions will have fallen in 4 of the last 5 years and could be back to approximately 1995 or 1996 levels by the end of this year.