U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Short-Term Energy Outlook
At the end of 2014, the nuclear generating unit at the Vermont Yankee power plant shut down for decommissioning after more than 40 years of operation. Five other nuclear units have been retired in the past two years. There are 99 remaining nuclear units in the United States, including 23 in the Northeast Census region, where Vermont Yankee operated.
Despite the January snowstorms in the Midwest and Northeast, average U.S. heating degree days (HDD) for the month were 10% lower than in January 2014. Based on weather forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, EIA expects HDD during the first quarter of 2015 to be 13% lower than last year. Cooling degree days during the summer months (April-September) are expected to be 6% higher than last summer. Lower consumption of electricity for space heating coupled with efficiency improvements are projected to offset increased air-conditioning use during the summer, leading to a projected 0.4% year-over-year decline in residential electricity sales during 2015. Residential electricity sales are projected to grow by 0.9% in 2016. Projected sales of electricity to the commercial sector increase by 1.3% in 2015 and by 0.5% in 2016. Projected industrial electricity sales rise by an average of 1.8% annually in both 2015 and 2016.
EIA forecasts that U.S. electricity generation will grow by an average of 1.0% 2015 and 0.9% 2016. The cost of natural gas used for power generation has fallen in recent months, with the Henry Hub spot price declining from an average of $4.29/MMBtu last summer to an average of $2.99/MMBtu in January. This decline in fuel costs, combined with upcoming coal plant retirements, is likely to increase the use of natural gas-fired generating capacity. EIA expects the share of total generation fueled by natural gas to average 28.4% during 2015, up from 27.2% last year. In contrast, the share of generation provided by coal falls from 38.9% to 37.8%. The retirement of the Vermont Yankee plant contributes to a decline in the Northeast regionâ€™s nuclear power fuel share from 35.5% in 2014 to 33.3% this year.
Electricity Retail Prices
EIA expects continued growth in average residential electricity prices over the forecast period, albeit at a slower pace than in 2014. The U.S. retail residential price is projected to increase by 1.1% in 2015 and by 1.8% in 2016. Electricity prices in most areas of the country are projected to increase in 2015. Projected price increases in 2015 are highest in the Midwest states (2.6%).
|U.S. Electricity Summary|
|2013||2014||2015 projected||2016 projected|
|Retail Prices||(cents per kilowatthour)|
|Power Generation Fuel Costs||(dollars per million Btu)|
|Residual Fuel Oil||19.33||19.38||11.24||12.44|
|Distillate Fuel Oil||23.08||22.28||15.70||18.91|
|Generation||(billion kWh per day)|
|Retail Sales||(billion kWh per day)|
|Total Retail Sales||10.11||10.22||10.30||10.40|
|Primary Assumptions||(percent change from previous year)|
|Real DIsposable Personal Income||-0.2||2.4||3.3||2.6|
|Manufacturing Production Index||2.9||3.9||4.4||3.3|
|Cooling Degree Days||-12.6||-0.7||5.1||0.7|
|Heating Degree Days||18.5||1.9||-7.5||-0.1|
|Number of Households||0.7||0.5||0.8||1.3|
Interactive Data Viewers
|Today In Energy||Daily|
|Annual Energy Outlook Electric Power Projections||Annual|
|Annual Energy Outlook Levelized Generation Costs||Annual|
|2014-2015 Winter Fuels Outlook Slideshow||Oct-2014|
|2014 Summer Fuels Outlook Slideshow||Apr-2014|
|Energy-weighted industrial production indices||Mar-2014|
|Summer 2013 Outlook for Residential Electric Bills||Jun-2013|
|Changes to Electricity and Renewables Tables||Aug-2012|
|Fuel Competition in Power Generation||Jun-2012|