Moody’s: NatGas Will Trump Coal & Nuclear in PJM Electric Auction

Increasingly the natural gas and electricity markets are becoming bosom buddies. Why? Because natural gas is displacing coal and even nuclear power as the preferred fuel to power electric generating plants. This is a profound change happening right now–important for you to understand as it will play a key role in new markets for Marcellus/Utica Shale gas now and into the future. Lesson #1: PJM Interconnection is a regional transmission organization (RTO) coordinating the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia (essentially Appalachia). PJM’s electric transmission grid covers all or parts of: Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Electricity moving through those areas is coordinated by PJM–meaning new electric generating plants that get built, or existing plants that get upgraded/converted to burn other fuel sources, must go through a PJM approval process. From time to time PJM conducts capacity auctions to increase the amount of, and reliability of, electric supply for the grid. PJM is currently conducting such an auction, and according to a new research report from Moody’s Investors Service, coal and nuclear electric generating plants will likely lose out to natural gas-fired electric plants thanks to the low price of Marcellus Shale gas…

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