BILLINGS, Mont. "The US demand for electricity to generate electricity will continue to slip in the coming months," federal officials said on Thursday, despite the Trump administration breaking up.
Renewable energy sources including wind, solar and hydropower are expected to fill much of the gap as a result of the coal's decline, according to the Energy Information Administration.
This is especially true for Western states where renewable energy will provide nearly a quarter of the power of households and businesses in the peak summer season, the agency said in its forecasts.
Natural gas is expected to remain the fuel chosen for power generation with an expected share of 40% in US markets this summer.
Under President Donald Trump, officials have sought to ease coal regulations and mining restrictions. But after the production quickly hit the year after Trump began use, almost all coal mines now experience the production.
Wyoming, Kentucky and Texas have seen the biggest drops so far this year. Among the 1
The coal's share of power generation is estimated to be 25% this summer. It is down to about half over the last decade, following a wave of coal-plant extracts that seek cheaper and cleaner burning options.
"This decline is relentless," said Seth Feaster, who tracks the coal industry for the Department of Energy Economics and Finance Analysis. The Ohio-based group advocates a move to more sustainable energy sources.
"The question is how low it can go," added Feaster. "Coal is really facing huge obstacles in terms of competition from natural gas from fracking and continuing price falls for renewable energy sources."
A spokesman for the coal mining industry's trading group said that the government forecast was "a reminder of how quickly we lose balance" on the country's electricity grid.
"We are switching from a reliable baseload generation that supports the routes' reliability to alternatives that undermine it," said National Mining Association spokesperson Conor Bernstein, adding that power market operators are unable to recognize the value of "fuel diversity" in their decision-making decisions.
The Trump administration wants to spend half a billion dollars next year on fossil fuel research and development, including promoting a new generation of coal-fired power plants, US energy secretary Rick Perry said on Thursday's testimony before a house commission.
At the end of April, PacifiCorps announced that a Wyoming coal-fired power plant and part of another could become retired as early as 2022 when the company tries to keep costs down For its customers, the Oregon-based tool plans to increase the amount of electricity it generates from wind turbines and solar use.
Beyond the changes in numbers and types of power plants, short-term price considerations, analyst Stacy Macintyre with the Energy Information Administration, said. Utilities this summer will pay about 3 percent more for coal and 12 percent less for natural gas compared to last year, she said.
The demand for coal will continue to fall in 2020, according to the agency.
–  Matthew Brown of The Associated Press wrote this story.