The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is forecasting natural gas consumption for the electric power sector will average 38 billion cubic feet (Bcf/d) during Summer (May-September) 2023, the second-most on record behind the 39 Bcf/d recorded for the same period in 2022.
High natural gas-fired generation this summer is driven by a decline in coal-fired generation, relatively low natural gas prices, and more overall electricity generation due to forecasted warmer-than-normal temperatures, according to EIA in its latest Short-Term Outlook.
EIA does not expect natural gas consumption to reach a new record in 2023 because of increasing generation from renewable sources.
In the summer of 2024, EIA forecasts natural gas consumed for electricity generation will decline by 2% and average about 37 Bcf/d, again driven lower by more renewable sources coming online throughout 2023 and 2024.
For a longer-term view, EIA expects renewables’ generation share in the U.S. to increase from 22% in 2022 to 23% in 2023 and 26% in 2024. The federal agency said improved water supply conditions should help increase hydroelectric generation over the coming months in California and the Southwest.
EIA expects natural gas generation in the U.S. to increase slightly during 2023, in response to a significant decline in fuel costs. Natural gas’s share of U.S. generation averaged 39% in 2022, and EIA projects it will average 40% in 2023 before declining to 38% in 2024 as a result of the growing availability of renewables and an increase of natural gas prices.
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