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Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: September 9, 2020  |  Next Release Date: October 6, 2020  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

Electricity

  • EIA forecasts 2.4% less electricity consumption in the United States in 2020 compared with 2019. EIA expects retail sales of electricity to fall by 6.4% this year in the commercial sector and by 6.0% in the industrial sector. EIA forecasts residential sector retail sales will increase by 3.5% in 2020. Milder winter temperatures earlier in the year led to lower consumption for space heating, but that factor is offset by increased summer cooling demand and an increase in electricity use by more people working from home. In 2021, EIA forecasts total U.S. electricity consumption will be similar to the 2020 level of consumption.
  • 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 increases to 22% 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 a decline in nuclear generation in both 2020 and 2021, reflecting recent and planned retirements of nuclear generating capacity.
  • EIA forecasts that renewable energy will be the fastest-growing source of electricity generation in 2020. EIA expects the electric power sector will add 23.3 gigawatts (GW) of new wind capacity and 13.7 GW of utility-scale solar capacity in 2020.

U.S. electricity generation

U.S. renewable energy supply

U.S. electricity prices

U.S. Electricity Summary
  2018201920202021
aConventional hydroelectric power only. Hydroelectricity generated by pumped storage is not included in renewable energy.
bIncludes electricity and heat generation
cOther renewables includes biofuels production losses and co-products
Retail Prices (cents per kilowatthour)
Residential Sector 12.8713.0413.0813.23
Commercial Sector 10.6710.6610.5510.68
Industrial Sector 6.926.836.746.81
Power Generation Fuel Costs (dollars per million Btu)
Coal 2.062.021.962.04
Natural Gas 3.552.882.493.54
Residual Fuel Oil 12.9212.728.589.35
Distillate Fuel Oil 16.2015.1610.6512.14
Generation (billion kWh)
Coal 1,145.96966.15763.98860.93
Natural Gas 1,468.731,581.821,598.191,410.41
Nuclear 807.08809.41793.09786.85
Conventional Hydroelectric 292.52273.71281.30277.97
Renewable (non-hydroelectric) 414.34446.73510.95598.59
Total Generation 4,174.404,118.053,985.513,972.89
Retail Sales (billion kWh)
Residential Sector 1,469.091,435.151,484.981,493.04
Commercial Sector 1,381.751,354.541,268.031,280.34
Industrial Sector 1,000.67952.15895.26889.30
Total Retail Sales 3,859.193,749.543,655.463,670.42
U.S. Renewables Consumption (quadrillion Btu)
Geothermal 0.2090.2090.2080.207
Hydropowera 2.6632.4922.5452.520
Solar 0.9161.0431.2741.578
Waste Biomass 0.4870.4330.4350.442
Wind 2.4802.7293.1453.676
Wood Biomass 2.2612.2972.1752.223
Electricity Subtotalb 8.9919.1769.74910.610
Biomass-based Diesel 0.2600.2650.2560.337
Ethanol 1.1881.2001.0541.161
Biofuels Subtotal 1.4481.4651.3101.498
Otherc 0.8240.7990.6980.777
Total 11.26411.44011.75812.885

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Related Figures
U.S. electricity consumption XLSX PNG
U.S. residential electricity price XLSX PNG
U.S. electricity generation by fuel, all sectors XLSX PNG
U.S. renewable energy supply 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
U.S. census regions and census divisions XLSX PNG
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