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US 2013 power generation to hold steady, EIA says

9 Jan 2013, 4.33 pm GMT

Washington, 9 January (Argus) — The Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects total US electricity generation to remain almost unchanged in 2013 while the share held by natural gas decreases and coal rises.

After remaining largely static in 2013, total generation of power will grow 0.8pc in 2014, the EIA said in its latest monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook. The agency expects the price of natural gas delivered to power generators to increase 32pc in 2013, resulting in a fuel share of 27.9pc of total generation, falling from 30.3pc in 2012. EIA forecasts natural gas will account for 27.5pc of total generation in 2014 and coal will account for 39.6pc.

The decline in natural gas generation will be offset by more coal-fired generation, raising the fuel's total share of generation to 39pc in 2013 from 37.6pc in 2012. The agency also expects an increase in nuclear generation and generation from renewables in 2013.

Total renewable energy consumption is estimated to have decreased 2.5pc in 2012 as the decline in hydropower from 2011 to 2012 more than offset projected growth in consumption of other renewable energy. Hydropower production fell as the Pacific northwest's output dropped from the unusually high levels of 2011. Solar energy consumption is projected to grow by 32pc in 2012 and 31pc in 2013.

The EIA expects renewable energy consumption to increase 3.6pc in 2013 as hydropower grows 1.7pc and non-hydropower renewables grow by an average of 4.4pc. Wind-powered generation grew by 17pc in 2012 and is expected to grow by 13pc in 2013.

The agency warns that projections for capacity additions may differ in future reports as it addresses the effect of the extension of the wind power tax credit enacted last week.

Most US regions experienced much warmer-than-normal temperatures in 2012, in both winter and the summer. Based on the assumption that temperatures return closer to normal, the agency forecasts that residential electricity sales in the winter months of 2013 will rise from last year while summer electricity sales will fall, leading to a projected annual drop of 0.3pc for 2013.

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