Gas, Renewables

EIA: Energy Production to Shrink This Year, Increase the Next

By Editors of Power Engineering

The Energy Information Administration’s latest short-term forecast calls for U.S. electricity production from utility-scale plants to decline 0.7 percent this year, but climb 1.9 percent in 2018.

Total electricity generation averaged 11,140 GW/h per day in 2016.

Natural gas’ position in the energy mix is still expected to weaken, from 34 percent last year to 32 percent in 2017 due to higher gas prices. In 2018 natural gas will reach 33 percent.

Coal will rise only slightly from 20 percent in 2016 to 31 percent in 2017, then back to 30 percent in 2018.

However, that slight rise should contribute to a four percent increase in coal production this year. In 2018 coal production will remain unchanged. Coal generation prices fell five percent in 2016 to $2.11/MMBtu in 2016, with a forecast of $2.17/MMBtu and $2.21/MMBtu over the next two years.

Non-hydropower renewable sources are now set to provide nine percent of electricity generation in 2017 and 10 percent in 2018. Nuclear will decline slightly from 20 percent in 2017 to 19 percent in 2018. Hydropower should remain unchanged at seven percent.

Solar power is expected to be the fastest-growing renewable energy source, with a 44 percent increase in capacity to 31 GW by the end of 2018. Wind energy is expected to grow from 81 GW at the end of 2016 to 95 GW at the end of 2018.

Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are set to decrease by 0.2 percent in 2017, though increase by 16. Percent in 2018.