For the first time in our history, this April the U.S. supplied more of its electricity burning natural gas than coal. The FT reports that a combination of cheap gas and increased regulations on coal meant that gas edged out coal as 31 percent of our electricity against coal’s 30 percent.
This is, of course, unwelcome news for the coal industry, which is already facing a grim outlook as federal regulations force older plants to install expensive scrubbers to cut down on emissions. Those new rules, along with fierce competition from the new kid on the block—shale gas—have knocked Old King Coal off his throne, and the way things are going he may never return to it.
For U.S. emissions and our country’s air quality, though, this is a positive development. Natural gas emits roughly half of the greenhouse gases as coal, making it a much cleaner and greener energy source. We’ve said it before, but given coal’s recent displacement it’s worth saying again: shale gas is fracking green.