- Natural gas-fired power plant will produce more power than coal-fired plants by about 2035, according to the Energy Information Agency's (EIA) preliminary version of its annual energy outlook report. Natural gas will account for 35% of total electric generation, while coal will account for 32% in 2040, the report said.
- With coal plant retirements outpacing additions, EIA expects total coal-fired capacity to fall from 310 GW in 2012 to 262 GW in 2040. Renewable production, including hydroelectric generation, will climb from 12% last year to 16% in 2040, according to the report.
- EIA sees total electric use, including purchases from electric power producers and on-site generation, growing at a 0.9% average annual pace from 3,826 million MWh in 2012 to 4,954 million MWh in 2040.
- EIA expects average retail electric prices to climb from 9.8 cents/kWh in 2012 to 10.4 cents/kWh in 2030 and 11.1 cents/kWh in 2040.
The EIA report highlights the ongoing shift in generating sources in the U.S.: less coal and nuclear, more gas and renewables.
“The combination of slow growth in electricity demand, competitively priced natural gas, programs encouraging renewable fuel use, and the implementation of environmental rules dampens future coal use,” EIA said.