The share of U.S. utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas-fired power plants will remain relatively steady from 2019 through 2021, from 37% in 2019, to 38% in 2020, then falling back to 37% in 2021, the Energy Information Administration projects in the February Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO).
Electricity generation from renewable energy sources will rise from a share of 17% last year, to 20% in 2020, and 21% in 2021, Kallanish Energy reports.
The increase in the renewables share is the result of expected use of additions to wind and solar generating capacity, STEO projects. Coal’s forecast share of electricity generation will fall from 24% in 2019, to 21% in both 2020 and 2021.
The nuclear share of generation, which averaged slightly more than 20% in 2019, will be slightly lower than 20% by 2021, consistent with upcoming reactor retirements.
EIA/STEO forecasts U.S. coal production will total 595 million short tons (Mmst) in 2020, down 95 Mmst (14%) from 2019. Lower production reflects declining demand for coal in the electric power sector and lower demand for U.S. exports.
EIA forecasts electric power sector demand for coal will fall by 81 MMst (15%) in 2020. EIA expects that coal production will stabilize in 2021 as export demand stabilizes and U.S. power sector demand for coal increases because of rising natural gas prices.
After decreasing 2.3% in 2019, EIA/STEO forecasts energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will decrease by 2.7% in 2020, and 0.5% in 2021. Declining emissions in 2020 reflect forecast declines in total U.S. energy consumption because of increases in energy efficiency and weather effects, particularly as a result of warmer-than-normal January temperatures.
A forecast return to normal temperatures in 2021 results in a slowing decline in emissions. Energy-related CO2 emissions are sensitive to changes in weather, economic growth, energy prices, and fuel mix.
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