The US is predicted to produce 694.9 million tonnes of coal in 2019, a 7% fall from 753.7 million tonnes in 2018.
The nation’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) has cut its previous production estimate by 3.8%, bringing it down to what would be the lowest production since 1978, a year in which only 670.16 million tonnes were made.
It believes 2020 production will drop even lower, to a total of 663.7 million tonnes.
This downward trend is matched by a lower estimated share of generation – coal is expected to make up just a quarter of US power in 2019 and 23.4% in 2020, down from 27.4% from coal in 2018.
Much of the fall in the expected use of coal is due to cheaper gas prices and a boost in dry gas production.
Power generation from natural gas is estimated to total 36.5% in 2019 and 37.2% in 2020, up from 35.1% last year.
Michael Bloomberg, the world’s 11th richest man, has announced new plans to retire every single coal-fired power plant in the US over the next 11 years.