EIA raises forecast for coal generation bump in 2021, and more carbon emissions

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its latest Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO) on Tuesday, forecasting that coal’s share of U.S. electric generation will rise to 24% in 2021, after falling to 20% in 2020 amid ongoing plant closures. In its prior STEO report, released in September, EIA forecast a smaller rebound for coal, to 22% in 2021.

The increase in forecasted coal generation for 2021 comes with an increase in forecasted energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. EIA previously expected those emissions to rise 4.8% in 2021, after projecting a 10% drop in 2020, due to decreased energy use in the commercial and industrial sectors amid the coronavirus pandemic. Now, EIA expects energy-related carbon emissions to increase 5.4% in 2021.

EIA sees higher CO2 emissions in 2021 “as the economy recovers and energy use increases.” It also expects a 19% increase in coal production in 2021 compared to 2020, “reflecting rising demand for coal from U.S. electricity generators because of higher natural gas prices compared with 2020.”

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