April 8 (Renewables Now) - The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Tuesday trimmed its forecast for wind and solar capacity additions this year because of the coronavirus outbreak and the resulting economic slowdown.
The agency now expects the US to install 19.4 GW of wind and 12.6 GW of utility-scale solar capacity in 2020, down by 5% and 10%, respectively, from its previous Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO). Renewables will remain the fastest-growing source of electricity generation for the year.
EIA also expects a 3% decrease in electric power sector generation in the US. The output of coal-fired power plants is seen to drop by 20% from 2019, while renewable power and natural gas power will increase by 11% and 1%, respectively.
Sales of electricity this year in the commercial sector and to the industrial sector are seen to decline by 4.7% and 4.2%, respectively. In the residential sector, consumption of electricity is growing because of the stay-at-home orders, but this will not be able to fully offset the mild winter and summer weather. Residential electricity sales will decrease by just 0.8% in 2020 under the updated STEO.
The total consumption of coal is forecast to fall by 19%, mainly due to the reduced power demand. Coal exports are also on the slide as the economic slowdown has affected demand from Europe.
EIA now sees energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to be down by 7.5% in 2020 due to the slowing economy and restrictions on business and travel activity. In 2021, however, energy-related emissions are forecast to inch up by 3.6%.