Amid expectations for milder weather during the upcoming summermonths in most regions of the United States, residential electricity sales shouldbe flat to the corresponding year-ago period. Commercial power sales during thesame period are likely to rise 1.5% on the year, the U.S. Energy Information Administrationreported in its monthly "Short-TermEnergy Outlook" released May 10.
The agency said total U.S. electricity generation for the yearis expected to ease slightly on the year to average 11.2 terawatt-hours per day.
"The annual amount of electricity generated by natural gaswill exceed the generation from coal-fired power plants this year for the firsttime. Coal-fired electricity generation will be 8% lower this year, while naturalgas generation will increase by 4%," EIA administrator Adam Sieminski saidin released comments.
The EIA anticipates that natural gas-fired generation will accountfor 34.0% of total electricity this year, up from 32.7% in 2015. Coal-fired generationwill account for 30.5% this year, easing from 33.2% in 2015.
"Coal is forecast to regain some of its generation sharein 2017, as forecast natural gas prices slowly rise, but the forecast share of coalgeneration (31.4%) in 2017 remains below that of natural gas generation (32.9%),"the EIA said.
Average retail residential power prices in 2015 averaged 12.7cents/kWh but are called to decline by 0.7% to 12.6 cents/kWh this year. In 2017,the average price of residential electricity across the U.S. should climb by 2.4%to 12.9 cents/kWh.
CO2 emissions to slideby 1.5% this year
The EIA expects CO2 emissions declined by 2.7% in 2015 and willdrop by another 1.5% this year before rising by 1.4% in 2017.
In its "Today in Energy" report, the agency said that energy-related CO2 emissionsin 2015 were 12% below 2005 levels. The EIA largely attributed the drop in emissionsto changes in the power sector, due mainly to a decreased use of coal and an increaseduse of natural gas to generate electricity. From 2005 to 2015, fuel-use changesin the electricity sector have accounted for 68% of the total energy-related reductionsin CO2.