In response to the 1973 oil crisis and natural gas curtailments of the mid-1970s, U.S. Congress restricted construction of power plants using oil or natural gas as a primary fuel and encouraged the use of coal, nuclear energy, and other alternative fuels. The Act also restricted the industrial use of oil and natural gas in large boilers. In the early 1980s, the demand for natural gas declined significantly, spurring subsequent price declines.
Enactment of the Natural Gas Utilization Act in 1987 repealed sections of the Powerplant and Industrial Fuel Use Act that restricted the use of natural gas by industrial users and electric utilities. As a result of the repeal, large new baseload electric power plants were allowed to use natural gas as fuel, and gas and oil-burning industrial boilers, turbines, and engines were also accepted. Provisions were continued to allow the use of natural gas in industrial cogenerators, if certain operating conditions were met. Restrictions did not pertain to facilities constructed after 1987. Because of the repeal, total natural gas consumption for electric generation and industrial processing increased by approximately 47% between 1988 and 2002.
Repeal of the Powerplant and Industrial Fuel Use Act (1987): Description and Impact (U.S. Energy Information Information)
A Bill to Amend the Powerplant and Industrial Fuel Use Act of 1978 (The Library of Congress)