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Coal's share of US generation seen declining through 2019

The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects coal's share of U.S. generation to decline through 2019 as that of natural gas increases to 35%.

In its latest "Short-Term Energy Outlook" released Oct. 10, the agency projects the nation's electricity production will average 11.4 million MWh per day in 2018 before declining 1.7% in 2019 to 11.2 million MWh/d.

According to the report, coal will supply 27.8% of U.S. electricity in 2018, down from the prior projection of 28.3%, to natural gas' share of 34.8%, up from the prior projection of 34.1%. In 2019, the EIA predicts coal will provide 26.8% of U.S. electricity to natural gas' share of 35.0%.

The prior projection had coal's 27.3% share behind natural gas' 34.8% share.

The EIA predicts delivered coal prices will average $2.09/MMBtu and $2.10/MMBtu in 2018 and 2019, respectively, against delivered natural gas prices of $3.42/MMBtu for both years.

The federal agency cut its 2018 power-sector coal demand forecast by 1.2% versus the prior forecast to 640 million tons, while it cut its 2019 projection by 1.9% to 604 million tons.

The EIA lowered its 2018 domestic coal production outlook by 1.6% versus the prior outlook to 756 million tons and lowered its 2019 outlook 1.7% to 743 million tons.

The agency lowered its 2018 year-end power-sector stockpile forecast by 5.5% versus the prior outlook to 114.7 million tons, while it lowered its 2019 year-end stockpile projection by 4.1% to 116.9 million tons.

The government expects 2018 U.S. coal exports to reach 108.3 million tons, up 1.1% versus the prior outlook, while it cut its 2019 export outlook by 0.1% to 100.4 million tons.