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Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: February 9, 2021  |  Forecast Completed: February 4, 2021  |  Next Release Date: March 9, 2021  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

Electricity

  • EIA forecasts that consumption of electricity in the United States will increase by 1.6% in 2021 after falling 3.8% in 2020. EIA forecasts residential sector retail sales will grow by 2.2% in 2021. The increase is primarily a result of colder forecast temperatures in the first quarter of 2021 compared with the same period in 2020, which EIA expects will raise demand for space heating, along with EIA’s assumption that more people will be working from home than in the first quarter of 2020. EIA expects retail sales of electricity in the commercial and industrial sectors will increase by 1.2% and 2.3%, respectively. For 2022, EIA forecasts total electricity consumption will grow by another 1.7%.
  • EIA expects the share of U.S. electric power generated with natural gas to fall from 39% in 2020 to 37% in 2021 and to 35% in 2022. The forecast natural gas share declines in response to a forecast increase in the price of natural gas delivered to electricity generators from an average of $2.38/MMBtu in 2020 to $3.27/MMBtu in 2021 (a 37% increase). Coal’s forecast share of electricity generation rises from 20% in 2020 to 21% in 2021 and to 22% in 2022. Electricity generation from renewable energy sources rises from 20% in 2020 to 21% in 2021 and to 23% in 2022. The nuclear share of U.S. generation declines from 21% in 2020 to 20% in 2021 and to 19% in 2022.
  • EIA forecasts that planned additions to U.S. wind and solar generating capacity in 2021 and 2022 will contribute to increasing electricity generation from those sources. EIA estimates that the U.S. electric power sector added 17.5 gigawatts (GW) of new wind capacity in 2020. EIA expects 15.3 GW of wind capacity will be added in 2021 and 3.6 GW in 2022. Utility-scale solar capacity rose by an estimated 11.1 GW in 2020. The forecast for added utility-scale solar capacity is 16.2 GW for 2021 and 12.3 GW for 2022.

U.S. electricity generation

U.S. renewable energy supply

U.S. electricity prices

U.S. Electricity Summary
  2019202020212022
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 13.0113.1913.3113.56
Commercial Sector 10.6710.6310.7910.91
Industrial Sector 6.816.666.686.70
Power Generation Fuel Costs (dollars per million Btu)
Coal 2.021.932.052.07
Natural Gas 2.882.383.273.61
Residual Fuel Oil 12.739.0210.0710.56
Distillate Fuel Oil 15.1610.7812.8613.49
Generation (billion kWh)
Coal 964.96773.24841.25894.25
Natural Gas 1,585.721,616.861,525.161,499.20
Nuclear 809.41790.30782.45756.17
Conventional Hydroelectric 287.87291.56276.64273.04
Renewable (non-hydroelectric) 439.82500.92586.65651.27
Total Generation 4,127.334,008.824,047.214,109.28
Retail Sales (billion kWh)
Residential Sector 1,440.291,457.581,489.351,515.37
Commercial Sector 1,360.881,277.861,292.711,315.60
Industrial Sector 1,002.35923.66944.97957.14
Total Retail Sales 3,811.153,665.643,733.453,794.43
U.S. Renewables Consumption (quadrillion Btu)
Geothermal 0.2010.2120.2140.216
Hydropowera 2.5632.6022.5542.549
Solar 1.0181.2401.5751.924
Waste Biomass 0.4420.4300.4420.454
Wind 2.6823.0753.5843.861
Wood Biomass 2.2272.1532.2092.254
Electricity Subtotalb 9.1239.70110.54111.217
Biomass-based Diesel 0.2650.2740.2990.345
Ethanol 1.2001.0451.1121.153
Biofuels Subtotal 1.4651.3181.4111.498
Otherc 0.8000.6980.7540.781
Total 11.38811.71712.70613.496

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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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