Much higher natural gas prices are making more power generators switch to coal
Annual U.S. coal-fired electricity generation is set to rise this year for the first time since 2014
While the U.S. Administration is pushing its green energy agenda and wants to decarbonize the power grid by 2035, coal is making a comeback this year as high natural gas prices incentivize more coal use in electricity generation.
This could be coal's last hurrah, as the fossil fuel is still set for a continuous decline over the medium and long term, analysts say, amid the global push toward clean energy and the ESG trend that restricts investment and access to finance in the coal industry.
Still, U.S. coal miners, who have already benefited from rising demand from utilities this year, are in for at least another year of strong sales and cash flows as the much higher natural gas prices this year compared to 2020 are making more power generators switch to coal.
Annual U.S. coal-fired electricity generation is set to rise this year for the first time since 2014, and the share of coal in America's power generation mix is set to rise to 23 percent in 2021 from 20 percent in 2020 as electricity demand rebounds and the delivered natural gas price for electricity generators more than doubles, according to EIA estimates.
Coal Demand Is Rising Amid High Natural Gas Prices
Rising demand for coal and muted supply response have depleted U.S. coal stocks to their lowest levels since the early 1970s. As utilities scrambled to secure supply ahead of the winter, coal prices in the United States were estimated to have hit last month the highest level since 2009.