U.S. Energy Information Administration logo
Skip to sub-navigation
‹ Analysis & Projections

Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: October 6, 2020  |  Next Release Date: November 10, 2020  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

Coal

  • EIA expects the share of U.S. electric power sector generation from natural gas-fired power plants will increase from 37% in 2019 to 39% this year. In 2021, the forecast natural gas share declines to 34% in response to higher natural gas prices. Coal’s forecast share of electricity generation falls from 24% in 2019 to 20% in 2020 and then returns to 24% in 2021. Electricity generation from renewable energy sources rises from 17% in 2019 to 20% in 2020 and to 22% in 2021. The increase in the share from renewables is the result of planned additions to wind and solar generating capacity. EIA expects 3% declines in nuclear generation in both 2020 and 2021, reflecting recent and planned retirements of nuclear generating capacity. The nuclear share of U.S. generation remains close to 20% in all years.
  • EIA expects total U.S. coal production in 2020 to be 525 million short tons (MMst), compared with 705 MMst in 2019, a 26% decrease. COVID-19 and efforts to mitigate it along with reduced demand from the U.S. electric power sector amid low natural gas prices have contributed to mine idling and mine closures. EIA expects production to rise to 625 MMst in 2021, up 19% from 2020. This forecast increase reflects rising demand for coal from U.S. electricity generators because of higher natural gas prices compared with 2020.

U.S. coal production

U.S. coal consumption

U.S. Coal Summary
  2018201920202021
Prices (dollars per million Btu)
Electric Power Sector 2.062.021.962.04
Supply (million short tons)
U.S. Coal Production 755.5705.3524.9624.5
Imports 6.06.75.14.6
Exports 115.692.965.470.6
Consumption (million short tons)
Electric Power Sector 637.2539.4432.8522.4
Other Sectors 50.947.943.643.5
Total Consumption 688.1587.3476.4565.9
End of Period Inventories (million short tons)
Electric Power Sector 102.8128.5123.1123.8
Total Inventories 129.8158.8153.0152.9

Interactive Data Viewers

Provides custom data views of historical and forecast data

STEO Data browser ›
Real Prices Viewer ›

Related Figures
U.S. coal production XLSX PNG
U.S. coal consumption XLSX PNG
U.S. electric power sector coal stocks XLSX PNG
U.S. electricity generation by fuel, all sectors XLSX PNG
U.S. carbon dioxide emissions growth XLSX PNG
U.S. summer cooling degree days XLSX PNG
U.S. winter heating degree days XLSX PNG
Related Articles    
Today In Energy Daily
Energy-weighted industrial production indices Mar-2014 PDF