Amid milder weather during the first six months of the year,retail power sales to residential customers in the United States during thatperiod were 5.4% below the corresponding six months in 2015, the U.S. EnergyInformation Administration reported in its monthly "" releasedJuly 12.
Nonetheless, residential electricity sales during the secondhalf of the year should increase by 2.9% from the same period in 2015, drivenby expectations for a warmer-than-normal temperatures this summer, particularlyin the Midwest.
For 2016, average U.S. electricity sales to the residentialsector are likely to come in 1.1% lower than 2015, the agency reported, beforerebounding by 1.5% in 2017. Power sales to commercial customers is expected torise by 0.3% in 2016 and then by 1.2% in 2017. Electricity sales to theindustrial sector are anticipated to be relatively flat this year beforeincreasing by 1.2% in 2017.
Total U.S. generation of electricity is forecast to average11.15 TWh per day this year, down 0.5% from levels in 2015.
"Sustained low natural gas prices have led powergenerators to significantly expand the share of electricity produced by naturalgas. EIA estimates that electricity generation by natural gas during the firsthalf of 2016 was 6.8% higher than the same period last year. In contrast,generation fueled by coal fell 21.1% over the same period. During the secondhalf of 2016, EIA forecasts that natural gas generation will growyear-over-year at rate of 2.5%, and coal generation is projected to increase by2.9%," the EIA noted.
This year, natural gas is likely to account for 34.3% oftotal electric generation, while coal is expected to account for 30.2%. Nuclearand renewable energy are projected to account for 19.4% and 14.9% of powergeneration, respectively.
"Rising projected costs of natural gas encourage moregeneration from coal-fired power plants during 2017. The natural gas share ofgeneration in 2017 is forecast to fall to 33.3%, and the coal share ofgeneration is expected to rise to 31.1%. In 2017, nuclear and renewables areforecast to supply 19.1% and 15.3% of electricity generation, respectively,"the EIA said.
Thus far this year, retail residential power prices haveaveraged 12.3 cents/kWh, the EIA said. Residential electricity prices arelikely to decrease by 0.3% in 2016 before increasing by 2.9% to an average of13.0 cents/kWh in 2017.
CO2 emissions tofalter by 1.6% this year
Depending on such factors as the weather and the economy,the EIA expects energy-related CO2 emissions, which declined by 2.8% in 2015,should stumble by 1.6% this year before climbing by 1.1% in 2017.