US coal consumption will total 928.1 million short t in 2013, up from 889.3 million short t in 2012, according to the latest Short-Term Energy Outlook from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). However, most of this increase will come from almost 37 million short t of inventory drawdown with coal production ending the year down 0.8% on the previous year at 1.008 billion short t.
Coal-fired generation also increased through 2013, up 5.4% on 2012 to generate almost 40% of US electricity. However, coal was also hit by the largest number of retirements with 3.8 GW going offline compared to only 1.5 GW of new capacity
US coal in 2014
The EIA sees a slightly better 2014 as inventories stabilise and consumption increases again. The administration predicts production will hit 1.033 billion short t, while consumption will rise to 948.3 million short t. Coal-fired power generation will also continue to grow, albeit it at a slower pace of 1.9%.
US coal exports
Coal exports are expected to drop for the high of 125.7 million short t last year to 118.4 million short t this year and 107.4 million short t in 2014 as continuing economic weakness in Europe, slowing Asian demand and falling international coal prices hit demand for US coal.
Written by Jonathan Rowland
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