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.