Will Coal Bounce Back Long Term?

Coal consumption will fall over the next few years but will gradually grow as demand increases, according to ICF International. During a June 26 webinar, analysts said that coal generation will be down by about 10 percent through 2016 from the 2001 to 2010 average. However, coal generation is expected to steadily climb through 2020 and could be nearly even with current levels.

ICF International predicts that coal consumption will be about 915 million tons/year for 2013 to 2030, which is about a 65 million ton/year decrease from current levels.

This long-term projection of coal consumption is high, analysts said, considering that the power industry is expected to retire 50 GW of coal-fired generation between now and 2020.

Will power generators turn back to coal even after all of the current EPA rules are enforced? Is the projection that in 10 or 15 years, coal consumption will only be 65 million tons/year less than current levels, viable? What are your thoughts?