The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects natural gas to provide the lion's share of the nation's electricity through 2019.
In its latest "Short-Term Energy Outlook" released Aug. 7, the agency predicts the country's power production will average 11.3 million MWh/d in 2018 before dropping by less than 1.0% in 2019 to 11.2 million MWh/d.
According to the outlook, coal will provide 28.5% of the nation's power in 2018, up from the prior outlook of 28.2%, to natural gas' share of 34.0%, down from the prior projection of 34.1%. In 2019, the EIA predicts coal will provide 27.3% of U.S. power to natural gas' share of 34.8%. The prior outlook had coal's 27.2% share behind natural gas' 34.8% share.
The government agency expects delivered coal prices will average $2.10/MMBtu and $2.09/MMBtu in 2018 and 2019, respectively, against delivered natural gas prices of $3.43/MMBtu and $3.40/MMBtu.
The federal agency raised its 2018 power-sector coal demand outlook by 1.6% versus the prior outlook to 651 million tons, while it boosted its 2019 forecast by 0.8% to 616 million tons.
Simultaneously, the agency lowered its 2018 domestic coal production forecast by 0.9% versus the prior outlook to 766 million tons and raised its 2019 outlook 0.8% to 752 million tons.
The EIA lowered its 2018 year-end power-sector stockpile projection by 0.2% versus the prior forecast to 122.8 million tons, while it boosted its 2019 year-end stockpile projection 0.1% to 123.7 million tons.
The federal agency expects 2018 U.S. coal exports to reach 102.5 million tons, down 1.4% versus the prior projection, while it trimmed its 2019 export projection 2.3% to 96.4 million tons.