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Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: February 12, 2019  |  Next Release Date: March 12, 2019  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

Coal

  • EIA expects the share of U.S. total utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas-fired power plants to rise from 35% in 2018 to 36% in 2019 and to 37% in 2020. EIA forecasts that the electricity generation share from coal will average 26% in 2019 and 24% in 2020, down from 28% in 2018. The nuclear share of generation was 19% in 2018 and EIA forecasts that it will stay near that level in 2019 and in 2020. The generation share of hydropower is forecast to average slightly less than 7% of total generation in 2019 and 2020, similar to last year. Wind, solar, and other nonhydropower renewables together provided about 10% of electricity generation in 2018. EIA expects them to provide 11% in 2019 and 13% in 2019.

  • EIA estimates that U.S. coal production declined by 21 million short tons (MMst) (3%) in 2018, totaling 754 MMst. EIA expects further declines in coal production of 4% in 2019 and 6% in 2020 because of falling power sector consumption and declines in coal exports. Coal consumed for electricity generation declined by an estimated 4% (27 MMst) in 2018. EIA expects that lower electricity demand, lower natural gas prices, and further retirements of coal-fired capacity will reduce coal consumed for electricity generation by 8% in 2019 and by a further 6% in 2020. Coal exports, which increased by 20% (19 MMst) in 2018, decline by 13% and 8% in 2019 and 2020, respectively, in the forecast.

U.S. coal production

U.S. electric power sector coal stocks

U.S. coal consumption

U.S. Coal Summary
  2017201820192020
Prices (dollars per million Btu)
Electric Power Sector 2.062.062.072.08
Supply (million short tons)
U.S. Coal Production 774.6753.7722.2681.5
Imports 7.85.76.06.0
Exports 97.0116.1100.692.7
Consumption (million short tons)
Electric Power Sector 665.0637.5583.4546.9
Other Sectors 51.951.752.452.3
Total Consumption 716.9689.3635.9599.2
End of Period Inventories (million short tons)
Electric Power Sector 137.7103.6106.8108.6
Total Inventories 167.0132.7137.0141.6

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