Coal industry to make a comeback in 2017
After a sharp decrease in 2016, the coal industry is expected to make a comeback this year.
Last year saw a production decrease of 169 million short tons, or around 19%, to make 2016 the lowest coal production level since 1978. This year, however, rising natural gas prices may drive coal consumption in the electric power sector alone to increase by 9 million short tons, and 2 million more in 2018.
Furthermore, data as recent as April 2017 show increases in coal trade, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates an increase in coal prices from a low average of $2.11 per million British thermal units in 2016 to $2.15/million Btu this year and $2.21 next year.
Even with America’s strong interest in renewable energy sources, the EIA showed that more than 30% of the nation’s electricity is generated by coal. Coal is beaten as an energy source only by natural gas, at 33.8%. Renewable energy sources are strong at a combined 14.9%, but coal is still used widely for America’s power.
- Header photo by Stephen Codrington via WIkipedia Commons
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