Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Coal's share in national energy mix falls; gas's share rises

"Coal’s share in the nation’s electricity mix is predicted to fall to 29 percent this year, as natural gas-fired power continues to increase, according to the Energy Information Administration’s Short Term Energy Outlook, released Tuesday," Heather Richards reports for the Star Tribune in Casper, Wyo. That's down from last year's 30 percent. Natural gas will take the biggest slice of the energy mix this year at 34 percent, up from 32 percent last year.

The prediction coincides with an expected decline in coal production, though Appalachian coal may take more of a hit than the Powder River Basin. According to the EIA, coal from Western states will increase from 430 million short tons in 2017 to 432 million short tons in 2018. Midwestern coal will also get a small bump, while Appalachia will lose tonnage, Richards reports.

"Most of the new power capacity built this year is also expected to be in the form of natural gas plants, representing a shift in the renewable energy trend," Richards reports. "Since 2013, the majority of new power has been from wind and solar, according to the Energy Information Administration. The majority of new gas plants are planned in eastern states, including Pennsylvania and Virginia, according to the Energy Information Administration. There are no new coal plans in development nationally."

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