By Editors of Power Engineering
Though the Energy Information Administration had predicted coal would top natural gas in 2017, the latest short-term energy outlook indicated coal generation fell short – and will continue to fall behind.
EIA now indicates coal consisted of 30 percent of all electrical generation last year, compared to 32 percent for natural gas.
Natural gas generation is now expected to continue growing and make up of 33 percent of all generation in 2018 and 34 percent in 2019. By contrast, coal will drop to slightly lower than 30 percent in 2018 and to 28 percent in 2019.
Nuclear generation reached 20 percent in 2017, and is expected to average 20 percent in 2018 and 19 percent in 2019. Non-hydro renewables consisted of 10 percent in 2017, increasing to 11 percent in 2019.
Natural gas prices are now expected to drop slightly, going from a 2017 average of $2.99 per million British thermal units to $2.88/MMBtu in 2018 and $2.92/MMBtu in 2019. That comes as production will increase 6.9 billion cubic feet per day to 80.4 Bcf/d in 2018. The next year’s prediction shows a slight decline to 2.6 Bcf/d.
Coal production increased by 45 million short tons in 2017 due to high demand for coal exports, though that demand is expected to slow and result in declines of 14 MMst in 2018 and 18 MMst in 2019.
Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions fell by 1.0 percent last year, though are expected to rise by 1.7 percent in 2018 and 0.2 percent in 2019.