U.S. coal-fired electricity generation to rise in 2021, EIA says

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A towboat pushes barges towards the Mill Creek Station power plant on the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

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Oct 18 (Reuters) - Coal-fired electricity generation in the United States is expected to be higher this year compared to 2020 due to soaring natural gas prices and relatively stable coal prices, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Monday.

U.S. natural gas prices have soared on strong demand and record global gas prices.

The EIA said it expects 22% more U.S. coal-fired generation in 2021 than in 2020, marking the first year-on-year increase since 2014.

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The cost of natural gas delivered to electric generators remained relatively low and stable between 2015 and 2020, but prices have been much higher this year, driving up coal demand, the EIA said.

Although rising natural gas prices have resulted in more U.S. coal-fired generation than last year, the increase in coal generation will most likely not continue, the EIA added.

"For 2022, we forecast that U.S. coal-fired generation will decline about 5% in response to continuing retirements of generating capacity at coal power plants and slightly lower natural gas prices," it said.

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Reporting by Ashitha Shivaprasad in Bengaluru Editing by Paul Simao

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