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About four-fifths of new U.S. power-generation capacity brought online during the first half of 2012 is fueled by natural gas, wind or sunlight, extending a trend toward cleaner, renewable sources stretching back to the 1990s, according to the Energy Information Administration.
During the first six months of the year, 165 new electric power generators were added in 33 states, for a total of 8,098 megawatts of new capacity. Only one coal-fired generator was brought online, an 800-megawatt unit at the Prairie State Energy Campus in Illinois.
Over the past 15 years, most new generation capacity was built to be powered by gas or wind, according to EIA, the statistical arm of the Energy Department.
“The addition of natural gas and renewable generators comes at a time when natural gas and renewable generation are contributing increasing amounts to total generation across much of the United States,” the EIA said. One particular type, "combined-cycle" natural gas generators, is "competitive with coal generators over a large swath of the country."