October 7, 2020 Read More →

EIA expects slight rebound for coal next year as economies recover

Utility Dive:

Coal-fired generation is on a long-term downward trend in the U.S., with plant closures announced on a regular basis and more and more electric utilities announcing net zero carbon targets.

But EIA expects the resource will get a bit of a reprieve in 2021, driven by an overall increase in energy use as the economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, and by high natural gas prices. 

The market window for coal-fired electricity in the U.S. is closing faster than ever in a shift that is especially clear as autumn sets in,” said Seth Feaster and Dennis Wamsted, analysts at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, in an Oct. 6 release.

“Renewables have now generated more electricity than coal on 131 days in 2020 — more than three times the 2019 results and with some 80 days left in the year,” they continued.

Despite the bump in coal generation forecasted for 2021, Feaster and Wamsted see coal “becoming the marginal generation resource in the U.S. — a trend that is likely to accelerate over the next several years, given the significant amounts of new wind and solar capacity expected online,” they said. 

[Larry Pearl]

More: EIA raises forecast for coal generation bump in 2021, and more carbon emissions

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