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The South Central United States Drives US Electricity Generation

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Electricity generation by division in the US

The weekly electricity output and week-over-week change in production levels across different divisions in the US are in the chart below. The Edison Electric Institute (or EEI) provides weekly electricity production data by division across the US.

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South Central drives growth

Electricity generation across all divisions except for South Central and the Rocky Mountains dropped during the week ending February 27.

Electricity generation in the South Central region increased by 19% (or 2.4 million MWh). Duke Energy (DUK) and Southern (SO) operate in this region.

The Rocky Mountain was the only other region to record growth during the week ended March 6. The region’s electricity generation increased by 6% to 4.8 MWh during the week.

Growth offset elsewhere

Electricity generation across the US, except the South Central and Rocky Mountain regions, dropped. The Southeast, which led the gain during the previous week, saw a 2.2 MWh (or 9%) decrease in electricity generation. The Mid-Atlantic saw electricity generation fall by 0.9MW, or 9%. FirstEnergy (FE) has operations in the Mid-Atlantic. Elsewhere, the fall was marginal.

Impact on coal

Historically, the eastern United States was served by coal producers in Appalachia and the Illinois Basin, while the western states were served by the Powder River Basin (or PRB). Since PRB coal is the cheapest, there might be some movement of PRB coal to eastern states. However, the historic equation largely remains the same. A fall in electricity generation in most of the major western and Mid-Western regions isn’t good news for PRB coal producers (KOL) like Cloud Peak Energy (CLD).

Weekly coal production data may give you some idea about coal’s demand for electricity generation. However, coal demand also depends on natural gas prices. In the next part of this series, we’ll have a look at coal shipments, which mirror demand, in the US for the week ended February 27.

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