In January 2022, natural gas consumed for electric power in the United States averaged 31.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), the highest January average on record and the highest amount for any winter month. Natural gas consumed for electric power this past January was higher than in previous Januaries because of high demand for electricity throughout a colder-than-average January combined with less coal-fired electric power generation.
Natural gas consumption in the electric power sector peaks in the summer when demand for electricity is highest—largely driven by demand for air-conditioning. A smaller peak occurs during the winter, when homes and businesses use heat pumps, electric radiators, space heaters, and other electric heating equipment to heat buildings. The spring and fall seasons have the lowest natural gas consumption for electric power and the lowest overall electricity consumption.
This past January was the coldest January since 2014, which resulted in the highest monthly electricity demand for any January on record. In January 2022, natural gas-fired generators provided 36% of the nation’s electricity, and coal provided 23%. In the previous five Januaries (2017–21), those shares had been much more similar: natural gas at 33% and coal at 27%, on average