EIA says that U.S. coal production in 2016 will fall to 1978 level

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects the share of U.S. total utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas will average 34% this year, and the share from coal will average 30%.

EIA, in its latest Short Term Energy Outook released Nov. 8, said that last year, both fuels each supplied about 33% of total U.S. electricity generation. In 2017, natural gas and coal are forecast to generate about 33% and 31% of electricity, respectively, as natural gas prices are forecast to increase. Non-hydropower renewables are forecast to generate 8% of electricity generation in 2016 and 9% in 2017. Generation shares of nuclear and hydropower are forecast to be relatively unchanged from 2016 to 2017. •

U.S. coal production in October 2016 was 73 million short tons (MMst), the highest monthly production level since October 2015, when it was 76 MMst. The level of forecast coal production declines by 150 MMst (17%) in 2016 to 747 MMst, which would be the lowest level of coal production since 1978. Forecast coal production increases by 3% in 2017.

Electric power sector coal stockpiles decreased to 163 MMst in August 2016, down 5% from the previous month. Although coal stocks are at their lowest levels of the year because of the typical seasonal decline that occurs each summer, they are still 4% above the August 2015 level, when coal stockpiles were 157 MMst, EA noted.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.