Electricity generation, sales set records

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WASHINGTON — Electricity generation and electricity sales reached record levels in 2007, according to Electric Power Annual 2007, released by the Energy Information Administration.

Following a year of relatively weak growth in 2006, net generation of electric power increased by 2.3 percent, rising to 4,157 million megawatthours and retail sales rose by 2.6 percent to 3,765 million megawatthours in 2007.

Continued economic growth in 2007, combined with changes in winter and summer temperatures relative to 2006 that added to electricity use for space heating and cooling requirements, contributed to the increase in electricity sales.

Key points

Key points include:

– – For the first time, non-hydroelectric renewable energy, led by wind power, was the leading source of new electric generating capacity.

– – The U.S. average retail price for electricity increased by 2.6 percent to 9.1 cents per kilowatthour. The East North Central Census Division experienced the largest average price increase at 7 percent, while the New England Census Division average price increased by 4 percent.

– – Carbon dioxide emissions from conventional electric generation and combined heat and power plants increased by 2.3 percent in 2007.

Emissions decline

Meanwhile, estimated emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide continued to decline. Nitrogen oxides emissions dropped by 3.9 percent and sulfur dioxide emissions decreased by 5.1 percent.

– – Drought conditions prevailed in the West and Southeast, contributing to a 14.4 percent year-over-year decline in conventional hydroelectric generation.

– – Net generation at nuclear plants increased slightly in 2007 to 806 million megawatthours, despite a small decline in net summer capacity.

All-time high

The average capacity factor for the nuclear generating fleet was 91.8 percent, an all-time high.

– – End-of-year coal stocks for 2007 increased 7.3 percent from 141 million tons to 151 million tons. The build in coal stocks in 2007 was considerably less than the 39 percent increase that occurred in 2006.

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