US coal-fired generation this winter will be lower than a year earlier despite relatively stable overall electricity demand, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecast today.
In its annual EIA projected coal power will slip to 20pc of the US electric power sector generation mix from October 2022 through March 2023, from 21pc a year earlier. That equates to 382bn kWh of coal power during the six-month period, down from 395.7bn kWh in winter 2021-22, according to the agency's Short-Term Energy Outlook, which was also released today.
Total US electric power sector electricity output for October-March will edge down by less than one-tenth of one percent to around 1,929bn kWh, EIA projected.
Coal-fired power plants are still contending with supply constraints, EIA said. That will keep natural gas generation "near record levels" in the winter despite higher prices, the agency said.
EIA projected natural gas generation will inch up to 693.9bn kWh over October 2022-March 2023 from 692.6bn kWh a year earlier and that the spot price at the Henry Hub will average $7.26/mmBtu, up from $4.72/mmBtu.
Renewable generation will also be higher over this coming six months than it was in the same 2021-22 period, reflecting additional capacity. By December, the US electric power sector will have 26pc more solar generating capacity than it had a year earlier and 9pc more wind power, EIA expects. Generation from those two sources alone will account for 16pc of total US power in winter 2022-23, up from 15pc a year earlier, the agency forecast.
For January-December 2022, renewable generation, including hydroelectric will rise to 905.7bn kWh and account for 22pc of US electric power sector, compared with 795.2bn kWh and 20pc last year. Gas-fired power will increase to 1,545bn kWh and 38pc of electric power sector dispatch from 1,474bn kWh and 37pc of overall generation.
Total electric power sector generation will increase by 3pc from last year to 4,083bn kWh, EIA said.
Coal-fired generation in the electric power sector, however, will fall by 6.3pc from 2021 levels to 836.9bn kWh this year, EIA projected. It will decrease by another 6.6pc in 2023 to 781.4bn kWh as more power plants are retired, the agency said.
US coal consumption will end this year around 518mn short tons (st) (470mn metric tonnes) and 2023 at 487mn st, compared with 545.6mn st in 2021. Electric power sector coal use will slide 475.1mn st this year and 445.4mn st in 2023 from 501.4mn st last year. Retail and other industry coal consumption will also decrease over the same periods, while coke plant coal use will slip this year and then partially recover in 2023, EIA projected.
EIA's latest forecasts on 2022 coal-fired generation and consumption are lower than they were in last month's Short-Term Energy Outlook.
The agency also cut its coal production and export projections for both this year and next. It now expects output to rise to 598.2mn st in 2022 from 578.1mn st in 2021 and then fall to 581mn st next year. And US exports this year will be flat with 2021, at 85.2mn st and then rise to 92mn st in 2023.
EIA in September projected 2022 and 2023 coal production of 600mn st and 590mn st, respectively, and exports of 86.2mn st and 96.6mn st. argusmedia.com
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