The US will produce more coal this year than in 2016.
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the energy source will regain some share of the electricity generation mix as natural gas prices are expected to rise.
In the short term, it estimates electric power sector coal usage to increase by 6%.
Last year, the electric power sector accounted for an estimated 92% of total US coal consumption, with production totalling 739 million short tons (MMst).
Natural gas-fired generation exceeded coal’s share of the electricity mix but is expected to “decline slightly” this year.
“However, new natural gas power plants are currently being built and by 2018, the availability of these units may lead to increases in natural gas-fired generation,” the EIA adds.
It expects the US to become a net exporter of energy in the next nine years.