Coal demand projected to hit new lows through 2020

Coal is losing ground in the U.S. energy markets despite attempts from President Trump to boost the struggling industry. 

The latest forecast from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), released Tuesday, shows coal production is expected to decline through 2020, as is the amount of electricity production reliant on the substance.

According to CNN, that makes coal use by the power sector the lowest in 42 years. 

EIA forecasts that coal-fired power will drop from 28 percent in 2018 to 22 percent by 2020. Coal production is expected to drop 10 percent this year and then another 11 percent by 2020.

That would make for a 27 percent decline in coal production since 2016, showing coal has remained on the decline throughout the Trump administration.

Utilities across the county have announced they will be closing various coal-fired power plants, while banks have been hesitant to finance the industry’s projects.

EIA cited “declining coal demand and related bankruptcies, ownership changes, and sudden mine closures” as some of the biggest obstacles facing the industry.

The Trump administration has made an effort to boost the coal industry, scrapping an Obama-era power plant rule and replacing it with one critics have contended would only allow the most modest pollution controls at power plants. 

The agency also forecasts growth in renewable energy like solar and wind, going from just under 10 percent in 2018 to 12 percent by 2020.

EIA also expects carbon emissions to decline by about 2 percent in 2019 and 2020, despite a nearly 3 percent rise in 2018. 

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Written by Alan Smith

Alan Smith

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