Coal-to-Gas Switching

Aaron Foyer
Coal-to-Gas Switching

Natural gas is replacing more carbon-intensive polluting fuels in parts of the world to improve air quality and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. 

Mean full-cycle emissions intensity for power supply:

Coal: 1,014 kg CO2e / MWh

Natural gas: 508 kg CO2e / MWh

According to the International Energy Agency, coal-to-gas switching has reduced emissions by around 500 Mt CO2.

Between 2011 and 2019, 121 U.S. coal-fired plants were repurposed to burn other types of fuel, 103 of which were converted to or replaced by natural gas-fired plants. 

Though low global gas prices have resulted in coal-to-gas switching in the Americas and Europe, it has done little to grab much of the coal market in Asia where cogeneration plants are less common.

Japan may experience some switching to LNG in the power sector but not enough to counter the demand for coal from coal-fired plants in China and India.