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Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: September 11, 2018  |  Next Release Date: October 10, 2018  |  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 32% in 2017 to 34% in 2018 and to 35% in 2019. EIA’s forecast electricity generation share from coal averages 28% in 2018 and 27% in 2019, down from 30% in 2017. The nuclear share of generation was 20% in 2017 and is forecast to be 20% in 2018 and 19% in 2019. Nonhydropower renewables provided slightly less than 10% of electricity generation in 2017, and EIA expects them to provide more than 10% in 2018 and nearly 11% in 2019. The generation share of hydropower was 7% in 2017 and is forecast to be about the same in 2018 and 2019.
  • EIA forecasts U.S. coal production will decline by 1% to 768 million short tons (MMst) in 2018, despite a 10% (10 MMst) increase in coal exports. The production decrease is largely attributable to a forecast decline of 2% (17 MMst) in domestic coal consumption in 2018. EIA expects coal production to decline by 2% (12 MMst) in 2019, because coal exports and coal consumption are both forecast to decrease.
  • EIA estimates U.S. coal exports through the first half of 2018 were 32% (14 MMst) higher than in the same period of 2017, and June was the second month of this year that exports exceeded 10 MMst. EIA forecasts total coal exports to be 107 MMst in 2018 and 101 MMst in 2019, with U.S. coal exports to Asia expected to remain strong. Three of the top five destinations for U.S. coal exports are in Asia, with India, South Korea, and Japan accounting for more than one-third of U.S. exports through March, the most recent month for which EIA has actual data.

U.S. coal production

U.S. electric power sector coal stocks

U.S. coal consumption

U.S. Coal Summary
  2016201720182019
Prices (dollars per million Btu)
Electric Power Sector 2.112.082.092.10
Supply (million short tons)
U.S. Coal Production 728.4774.1768.0755.7
Imports 9.87.87.57.5
Exports 60.397.0107.1100.5
Consumption (million short tons)
Electric Power Sector 678.6664.7648.2615.9
Other Sectors 52.552.251.653.0
Total Consumption 731.1717.0699.7668.8
End of Period Inventories (million short tons)
Electric Power Sector 162.0137.2116.0116.1
Total Inventories 193.0163.5143.3146.3

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