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Trends

Fortnightly Magazine - February 15 1996

also predicted that hydro would rebound and play a significant role in the electric fuel mix. It did. Finally, we suggested that coal demand from electric companies would increase if spot coal prices continued to decline. Coal prices did remain competitive; however, demand stayed flat due to an abundance of nuclear- and hydro-generated electricity and competitively priced gas.

How coal contributes to the fuel mix in 1996 will depend in large part on the price competitiveness of gas, available hydro generation, and nuclear performance. Despite a record performance in 1995, more than half of the nation's 69 operating nuclear plants were down for refueling or maintenance at some point during the year. Clear evidence of faster refueling and maintenance schedules suggests another strong year for nuclear's contribution to the utility fuel mix. t

Kent Knutson is senior vice president at Resource Data International, Inc., an energy industry consulting and information management firm specializing in market and competitor analysis.

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