The federal government is predicting that the country’s appetite for coal will have decreased further by the end of the year. The Energy Information Administration expects coal will generate nearly 2 percent less of the nation’s electricity than it did last year, and the amount of electricity generated from coal could decline an additional four percent in 2012. This is mostly due to a small increase in natural gas-generated electricity, and a large increase in hydroelectric power.
Though the government expects overall coal production will fall 1.5 percent in 2011, most of that is because of a drop in Western coalfields. Both Appalachian and Interior basin coal are expected to see a slight boost in production.
The bright spot for the industry in the report is that while coal production itself has fallen, coal exports rose during the first half of 2011.