The amount of power generated by natural gas is expected to fall dramatically in Texas, which could make renewable energy the leading source of electricity during the fourth quarter, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Analysts estimated that the amount of electricity produced from natural gas in the final three months of the year will fall by 20,200 megawatts. Generation among natural-gas plants is estimated to remain below 31,000 megawatts until the third quarter of 2022, far below its most recent high of about 59,300 megawatts in the third quarter of 2020.
Officials with the federal agency said the decline in natural gas is due to rising costs, which began increasing in late 2020 and early 2021.
The price per million British thermal units was an average of $2.03 last year, but officials with the EIA expect that to rise to an average of $3.22 this year.
The report said that will make it less attractive as a fuel source but will bring gains to other fossil fuels used to produce electricity, mainly coal.
“Because we expect higher natural gas prices, we forecast coal’s generation share to rise from 20% in 2020 to 24% this year but to fall to 22% next year,” the report said.
That trend will also be evident in Texas, federal officials predicted, with the amount of coal generation rising by 8,600 megawatts in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, the amount of renewable energy generation in Texas will continue to grow steadily. By the fourth quarter, officials estimated that generation from wind and solar will reach about 31,400 megawatts, higher than at any point in the previous two years.