EIA predicts power restoration from Covid

EIA predicts energy recovery from Covid

Reposted by CFACT

EIA predicts energy recovery from Covid

By David Wojick | October 15, 2020 | energy

The US Energy Information Administration's most recent “Short-Term Energy Outlook” contains a wealth of data for the past few years, which are presented in graphical form and often contain forecasts for the next year.

The effects of Covid are clear as energy consumption was reduced in 2020. According to the EIA, 2021 looks much better. Here is their basic takeaway:

“The October Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO) remains subject to an increased level of uncertainty as efforts to contain and reopen COVID-19 continue to evolve. The decreased economic activity related to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to changes in energy demand and supply patterns in 2020 and will continue to influence these patterns in the future. This STEO assumes that US gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 4.4% in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period of the previous year. GDP is expected to increase from the third quarter of 2020 and grow by 3.5% year over year in 2021. "

Coal has had the greatest success but is expected to recover. In addition to lower demand, coal mining is labor intensive. The projected share of coal in electricity generation will decrease from 24% in 2019 to 20% in 2020 and then return to 24% in 2021. It is expected that natural gas prices will also rise and consume more coal. The gas prices were very low.

They say, “EIA expects total US coal production to be 525 million short tons (MMst) in 2020 compared to 705 MMst in 2019, a decrease of 26%. COVID-19 and its efforts to mitigate it, as well as lower demand from the U.S. power sector amid low natural gas prices, have contributed to idle times and mine closures. The EIA assumes that production will increase to 625 MMst in 2021, an increase of 19% over 2020. This projected increase reflects increasing demand for coal from U.S. power producers due to higher natural gas prices compared to 2020. "

Note that we are still burning well over half a billion tons of coal a year. Predictions about the death of coal are very premature. By far our largest source of juice is a mixture of coal and gas that changes with prices.

There is also a lot of data related to this green stupidity pandemic, the Green New Deal. Here are a few examples.

Wind is still a small source of energy and sun is tiny. Both have big growth numbers, but that's because there is so little at first. Here are some comparisons on a scale.

Wind power generation now equals hydropower and accounts for around 7% of total energy. Solar is almost in last place, tied to biodiesel. Only bio-waste produces less electricity. Burning wood is still a bigger source of sap than burning solar energy. Nuclear power is now chugging along with a little more than 20%.

In short, switching to wind and solar basically means completely replacing all of our current power sources. If we then convert all vehicles and space heating to electricity, we will not only have to replace, but almost double, our current energy sources.

Regarding space heating, EIA lists the number of houses by heat source. Fossil fuels dominate, especially in the colder regions, where the most heat is needed.

For example, in the cold northeast there are around 18 million households that burn natural gas, fuel oil or propane, with only 3.5 million being heated with juice. In the cold Midwest there are about 20 million fossil fuels and only 6 million electric ones. Only in the mild south does electricity beat fossil fuels.

In total there are over 70 million houses that need electrification. At an average cost of, say, $ 10,000 each, over $ 700 billion. Plus the cost of a new network and the generation of electricity to deliver all that new juice.

The above is just a look at the 50+ pages of MSRP data, most of it in easy-to-read charts and tables. The good news is that they predict a steady recovery from Covid. Plus, there's a lot to talk about what an enormous waste the Green New Deal would be.


David Wojick, Ph.D. is an independent analyst working at the intersection of science, technology and politics. For origins see


For over 100 previous articles on CFACT see


Available for confidential research and advice.

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