The federal government is predicting a decline for Appalachian coal over the next two decades. The Energy Information Administration’s annual energy outlook was released today.The EIA is projecting that by 2035, coal will only make up 39 percent of the nation’s overall electricity generation.
Howard Gruenspecht is the acting administrator of the EIA. He says the report predicts coal will still have the biggest share of U.S. electricity generation, but 39 percent is well below the nearly 50 percent share of the market coal had as recently as 2007.
“This reflects slow growth in electricity demand, continued competition from natural gas and renewables and the need to comply with new environmental regulations,” he said.
In the future, most of the coal being burned won’t be from Appalachia. The report projects an increase in western coal production, while Appalachian coal’s share declines. Interior coal production—like that produced in western Kentucky and Illinois—is expected to remain relatively stable.