- The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and ICF International foresee coal’s share of U.S. electricity generation falling to less than one-third of the total mix by 2030 while coal industry insiders expect it to be higher than 2014’s 39%. The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign expects coal to not be in the mix in 2030.
- In 2004, coal had a 50% share of the energy portfolio but it has steadily lost market share to $3 per million British Thermal Units (mmBTUs) natural gas, which is now 27% of the U.S. mix while wind is 5% of generation.
- EIA forecasts coal will be at 31% and natural gas will be at 32% in 2030 but coal advocates say market factors will drive natural gas to over $6 per mmBTU and the nation will turn back to coal. A spokesperson for Sierra Club’s 45-state Beyond Coal Campaign, which aims to see all U.S. coal plants shuttered by 2030, said EIA regularly under-forecasts coal closures.
The Beyond Coal Campaign calculates 76,877 megawatts of coal units retired or were announced to retire since 2010. Its goals are to close 105,000 MW, a third of U.S. coal, by the end of 2015, and to close half the fleet by 2017.
In the first 10 months of 2014, 2.4 GW of coal generation was shuttered and EIA expects approximately 28 GW more to close by 2022.
Both the EIA and ICF’s Executive Energy Outlook,expect around 60 GW to 62 GW of coal plant retirements from 2015-2016 to 2030, leaving 250 GW of coal-fired power generation in service.
Buoyed by the American Coal Council’s forthcoming “Fossil Forward — Revitalizing CCS, Bringing Scale and Speed to CCS Deployment,” the coal industry expects carbon capture and sequestration technology to bring the industry back.