The share of U.S. total utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas-fired power plants is projected to rise from 35% in 2018, to 36% in 2019, and to 37% in 2020, Steo, the latest Short-Term Energy Outlook produced by the Energy Information Administration, reports.
Steo/EIA forecasts the power generation share from coal will average 26% in 2019, and 24% in 2020, down from 28% in 2018.
The nuclear share of generation was 19% in 2018, and Steo forecasts it will stay near that level in 2019 and in 2020.
The generation share of hydropower is forecast to average slightly less than 7% of total generation in 2019 and 2020, similar to 2018. Wind, solar, and other non-hydropower renewables together provided about 10% of electricity generation in 2018. Steo projects them to provide 11% in 2019 and 13% in 2020.
EIA expects average U.S. solar generation will rise from 265,000 megawatt-hours per day (Mwh/d) in 2018, to 301,000 Mwh/d in 2019 (a 14% increase) and to 358,000 Mwh/d in 2020 (a 19% jump).
These forecasts of solar generation include large-scale facilities as well as small-scale distributed solar generators, primarily on residential and commercial buildings, Kallanish Energy understands.
In 2019, EIA expects wind’s annual share of generation will exceed hydropower’s share for the first time. EIA forecasts wind generation will rise from 756 Mwh/d in 2018, to 859 Mwh/d in 2019 (an 8% share). Wind generation is further projected to rise to 964 Mwh/d (a 9% share) by 2020.
EIA estimates U.S. coal production declined by 21 million short tons (Mmst) (3%) in 2018, totaling 754 Mmst. EIA expects further declines in coal production of 4% in 2019, and 6% in 2020 because of falling power sector consumption and declines in coal exports.
Coal consumed for electricity generation declined by an estimated 4% (27 Mmst) in 2018.
EIA expects lower electricity demand, lower natural gas prices, and additional coal-fired capacity retirements will reduce coal consumed for electricity generation by 8% in 2019, and an additional 6% in 2020.
Coal exports, which increased by 20% (19 Mmst) in 2018, decline by 13% and 8% in 2019 and 2020, respectively, in the forecast.
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