Surprise: The EIA predicts more coal will be used to generate electricity this year than in 2013. But they believe coal’s downtrend will resume in 2015. In 2013, 39.1% of U.S. power was generated by burning coal. In 2014 that will increase to 39.8%, but will fall to 38.7% in 2015, the EIA said. Natural gas fueled 27.4% of U.S. electricity generation in 2013. The EIA says gas will drop to 26.8% in 2014, with a rise to 27.6% in 2015.
Here are the EIA’s comments: Higher electricity demand and higher power sector natural gas prices that are more than 21% above their 2013 level contributed to a 3.0% increase in electric power sector coal consumption for the first seven months of this year from the same period last year. EIA projects total coal consumption of 941 MMst in 2014, an increase of 1.7% from last year. Total coal consumption is projected to fall by 2.0% in 2015, as retirements of coal power plants rise in response to the implementation of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, electricity sales growth slows to 0.6%, and natural gas prices fall relative to coal prices.
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