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Natural Gas Erodes Coal’s Share at Power Plants: Energy Markets

Natural gas’s unprecedented share of U.S. power generation is likely to keep growing as the biggest price slide in a year and the prospect of stricter pollution rules erode the market for coal.

Gas-fired electricity will climb 31 percent in 2010 from five years ago, while coal use will fall 6.5 percent, Energy Department estimates show. The lowest gas prices in 11 months and the regulatory outlook may prompt companies to defer coal projects and build plants that burn the cleaner fuel, said James Rogers, chief executive officer of Duke Energy Corp., a Charlotte, North-Carolina-based utility owner.