U.S. Coal Consumption

Weather-related increases in electricity demand will contribute to the projected 4.2-percent growth in coal consumption in the electric power sector in 2010. Forecast coal consumption in the electric power sector grows by an additional 1.1 percent in 2011, though staying under 1 billion short tons for the third consecutive year. Coal consumption in the electric power sector had been over 1 billion short tons from 2003 through 2008
U.S. Coal Supply. EIA estimates that 2009 coal production fell by more than 8 percent in response to lower U.S. coal consumption, fewer exports, and higher coal inventories. Production declines by an additional 4 percent in 2010 in this forecast despite increases in domestic consumption and exports. The balance between production and consumption is satisfied through significant reductions in both producer (primary) and end-user (secondary) inventories. EIA projects a 5-percent increase in coal production in 2011 to meet continued growth in coal consumption and exports as existing inventories are reduced

U.S. Coal Trade. U.S. coal imports fell by more than a third in 2009, and the slightly more than 22 million short tons imported was the smallest amount received since 2002. Forecast increases in coal consumption will lead to higher imports in 2010 and 2011; imports grow by 4.5 percent in 2010 and by an additional 16.6 percent in 2011.

U.S. Coal Prices. EIA estimates that the 2009 delivered electric-power-sector coal price increased by nearly 7 percent despite decreases in spot coal prices, lower prices for other fossil fuels, and declines in coal-fired electricity generation. This higher cost of delivered coal reflects the impact of longer-term power-sector coal contracts that were initiated during a period of high prices for all fuels. The projected electric-power-sector delivered coal price falls by more than 3 percent to average $2.14 per MMBtu in 2010 and declines by an additional 2.3 percent in 2011.www.eia.doe.gov

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