U.S. coal production seen falling in next 2 years, EIA projects

In 2018, total U.S. coal production is expected to drop by 14 million short tons (MMst) (2%), from 773 MMst in 2017, which was up 45 MMst (6%) from 2016, the Energy Information Administration projects in the just-released Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO).

Production in the country’s Western Region is forecast to decrease 5 MMst, and production in Appalachia is projected to decrease by 25 MMst. (A short tons is 2,000 pounds.)

“The expected production decline in the Appalachian Region and the Western Region is primarily a result of the projected declines in coals exports,” STEO reports. “Declines in these regions are expected to be partially offset by a 15 MMst increase in Interior Region production.”

In 2019, total coal production is expected to decline by 18 MMst (2%), with declines in Appalachian and Western regions production again partially offset by increases in Interior production, Kallanish Energy finds.

Coal consumption in the electric power sector is estimated to have declined by 12 MMst (2%) in 2017, as several coal power plants retired.

Consumption in the electric power sector is forecast to decrease by 10 MMst (1%) in 2018 and by 27 MMst (4%) in 2019. The decrease in power sector consumption reflects lower natural gas prices and more coal power plant retirements.

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