Steam coal electricity generation continues steady fall

Published on May 02, 2016 by Daily Energy Insider Reports

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced on Thursday that steam coal consumption for electricity generation in the U.S. has fallen steadily since 2007, totaling an estimated 739 million short tons (MMst) last year despite spikes in Nebraska and Alaska.

According to the EIA, 97 percent of all steam coal is used for electricity generation. Steam coal consumption peaked in 2007 at 1,045 MMst, but has fallen steadily each year since. Consumption did rise last year in Nebraska and Alaska, but fell in every other state. Rates of consumption fell most drastically in the Southeast and Midwest, while consumption in the Rocky Mountain region only fell marginally.

The decline may be due to price decreases and increased availability of alternative fuel. Natural gas fell in price in many U.S. states, while the availability of solar- and wind-generated electricity increased due to tax credits, new regulations and improvements in technology.

Coal use fell by 49 and 44 percent in Ohio and Pennsylvania respectively. Both states also experienced significant increases in natural gas production due to new shale facilities. Coal consumption fell by 37 percent in Indiana, shortly after a statewide mandate to increase the availability of renewable energy and nuclear power.