The use of thermal coal for electricity generation in the US power sector has fallen “in nearly every state” since 2007.
That’s from 1,045 million short tons (MMst) in 2007 to an estimated 739MMst last year – a 29% fall, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The largest fall was concentrated in the Midwest and Southeast, with six states in these regions accounting for nearly half of the national decline. The use of coal for power production rose only in Nebraska and Alaska.
In the US, 97% of all thermal coal is used to generate electricity.
The EIA stated increased supply of natural gas and a fall in prices spurred increases in natural gas-fired power generation in several states “at the expense of coal-fired generation”.
Power production from wind and solar also increased “significantly” during the same period, driven by a combination of tax credits and technology improvements.
Coal exports from the US also decreased by 25% last year.