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Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: March 11, 2020  |  Next Release Date: April 7, 2020  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

Coal

  • EIA expects the annual share of U.S. utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas-fired power plants will remain relatively steady through the forecast; it was 37% in 2019, and EIA forecasts it will average 39% in 2020 and 37% in 2021. Coal’s forecast share of electricity generation falls from 24% in 2019 to 21% in both 2020 and 2021. Electricity generation from renewable energy sources rises from a share of 17% last year to 19% in 2020 and to 21% in 2021. The increase in the renewables share is the result of additions to wind and solar generating capacity. The nuclear share of generation averaged 20% in 2019 and is expected to remain about the same in 2020 and 2021.
  • EIA forecasts that U.S. coal production will total 573 million short tons (MMst) in 2020, down 117 MMst (17%) from 2019. Lower production reflects declining demand for coal in the electric power sector and lower demand for U.S. exports. EIA forecasts that electric power sector demand for coal will fall by 86 MMst (16%) in 2020. EIA expects that U.S. coal production will stabilize in 2021 as export demand rises and U.S. power sector demand for coal increases slightly because natural gas prices increase.

U.S. coal production

U.S. coal consumption

U.S. electric power sector coal stocks

U.S. Coal Summary
  2018201920202021
Prices (dollars per million Btu)
Electric Power Sector 2.062.022.052.06
Supply (million short tons)
U.S. Coal Production 755.5690.1573.5581.1
Imports 6.06.75.55.4
Exports 115.692.978.182.8
Consumption (million short tons)
Electric Power Sector 637.2539.4453.1466.1
Other Sectors 50.950.352.249.0
Total Consumption 688.1589.8505.3515.1
End of Period Inventories (million short tons)
Electric Power Sector 103.0128.5127.2123.9
Total Inventories 130.0158.7157.7154.3

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