U.S. News & World Report wonders if growing dependence on natural gas is too much of a good thing.
"According to the Energy Information Administration, natural gas accounted for just 19 percent of the nation's electricity generation in 2005. Now that figure is closer to 30 percent. If projections about the decline in nuclear and coal capacity are correct, some industry watchers say natural gas will generate close to half of the nation's electricity in coming years.
[SEE: Fracking a Game-Changer for U.S. Economy]
"That might be an encouraging prospect with prices at historic lows, but given industry efforts to soften the slide in prices — including scaled-back gas production and new storage facilities to prevent supply gluts — shale gale or not, rock-bottom costs for natural gas can't last forever. As of Thursday, natural gas futures were at $4.05 per million BTUs, according to Reuters, up from $1.82 around this time last year.
"While that's still competitive with coal, rising natural gas prices could ultimately make it more economical for existing power plants to burn more coal. The EIA actually projects coal-generated electricity generation to pick up over the next two years as gas prices trend upward."
Read the whole story here.