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EIA forecasts nonhydro renewables will exceed US hydropower in 2019, 2020

Q2: U.S. Solar and Wind Power by the Numbers

Essential Energy Insights - September 17, 2020

Essential Energy Insights September 2020

Rate case activity slips, COVID-19 proceedings remain at the forefront in August


EIA forecasts nonhydro renewables will exceed US hydropower in 2019, 2020

The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects wind generation in 2019 will exceed hydropower's steady 7% share of the country's utility-scale electricity mix for the first time. The EIA in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook said it expects wind, solar and other nonhydropower renewables in total will rise from 10% in 2018 to 13% in 2020.

In the outlook released Jan. 15, the federal agency forecast that natural gas-fired generation is expected to increase its share of the country's utility-scale electricity mix even further from 35% in 2018 to 37% in 2020, while coal-fired generation will continue to fall from 28% in 2018 to 24% in 2020, down from 30% in 2017. Nuclear generation's share will remain steady at 19% in 2019 and 2020 after falling from 20% in 2017.

According to the EIA outlook, electricity production in the U.S. will fall 1.9% from an average of 11.47 million MWh/d in 2018 to 11.26 million MWh/d in 2019, before growing by 0.3% in 2020 to 11.29 million MWh/d, partly as a result of economic growth.

As for consumption, the EIA said it expects that total retail sales will decline by 1.2% from 10.43 million MWh/d in 2018 to average 10.3 million MWh/d in 2019, as a result of milder weather expected for the summer, before rising by 0.5% to 10.34 million MWh/d in 2020.

Regarding greenhouse gas emissions, the EIA forecasts that energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. will fall by 1.2% in 2019 and by 0.8% in 2020, after previously increasing by 2.8% in 2018 and declining by 0.8% in 2017. The EIA largely attributed the emissions declines to shifts in fuel use and more typical weather compared with 2018.