Report: Better days, but no resurgence for U.S. coal
New forecast: White House regulatory rollbacks and higher natural gas prices have brightened the mood of the U.S. coal industry, but it still faces major headwinds and production is not headed for a multi-year resurgence, according to the International Energy Agency's just-released five-year global market forecast.
Why it matters: The analysis signals that while White House efforts to revive the coal industry might have some success in limiting its decline, a return to the fuel's once-dominant position isn't in the offing.
The details: IEA projects that U.S. production will be around 510 million tons of coal equivalent in 2022, around the same as current levels. Demand declines around 1% annually but the U.S. remains a "swing supplier" in global markets.
- The U.S. industry's mood has "brightened" and some new production projects were announced in 2017, IEA says.
- Yes, but: "[S]luggish power demand, abundant gas supply and renewables growth are expected to continue to generate headwinds for coal use and limit the prospects for any resurgence in construction of new coal power plants," IEA notes.
Big picture: Global coal consumption is forecast to see very small growth of around 0.5% annually through 2022, while it loses ground slightly as a share of global energy supply as other sources are tapped to meet rising demand.
Go deeper: Read the full story here. A detailed summary of the report is available here.