By Tim Pearce
August 10, 2017 - The Department of Energy is predicting U.S. coal production will see sustained increases over the next two years due to higher amounts of exports and coal generated electricity, the Washington Examiner reports.
“U.S. coal production is getting a boost in 2017 from higher coal exports and more coal-fired electricity generation,” Energy Information Administration acting administrator Howard Gruenspecht said. “Coal-fired power plants are expected to be the leading source of U.S. electricity for the next two years, as the cost of coal is expected to rise by less than the cost of natural gas.”
U.S. coal exports increased in the first half of 2017. Coal exports were up in the first quarter of the year 58 percent over the same period a year prior, according to Energy Information Administration data.
Overall electricity usage is expected to drop for the third consecutive year, but the brunt of falling demand will be absorbed by natural gas power plants. The price of gas is rising and international demand for American coal is surging, up 60 percent from January to May. Coal production is expected to surpass current market-leading natural gas in the second half of 2017, according to the Washington Examiner.