According to the United States Energy Information Administration, US natural gas output is expected to hit an all-time high of 81.34 billion cubic feet per day this year.  Shell photo.

US natural gas output, consumption on the rise

US natural gas output is set to rise to a record high of 81.34 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) this year, up from 73.57 bcf/d in 2017, according to the US Energy Administration’s Short Term Energy Outlook report released on Tuesday.

This latest forecast is up from the June projection where the EIA expected 81.20 bcf/d and will easily surpass the former record set in 2015 of 74.15 bcf/d.

As well, natural gas consumption in the US is expected to reach an all-time high of 79.65 bcf/d, up from 74.22 bcf/d last year.

For 2019, the EIA projects output will increase to 84.46 bcf/d, and usage will fall to 79.57 bcf/d.

The agency also expects the percentage of natural gas-fired electric generation in 2019 will increase to 34 per cent from 32 per cent this year.   Coal-fired generation is set to fall to 28 per cent this year and hit 27 per cent in 2019.  In 2017, 30 per cent of electricity in the US was generated by coal-fired plants.

Wind power capacity is forecast to rise to 94 gigawatts by year’s end and 104 GW by the end of next year.  Solar capacity is set to hit 52 GW by the end of 2018 and 67 GW by December 2019.

One gigawatt is enough to power about 1 million homes in the United States.

After declining by 0.9 per cent in 2017, the EIA forecasts that energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will increase by 1.8 per cent in 2018 and decrease by 0.5 per cent in 2019. Energy-related CO2 emissions are sensitive to changes in weather, economic growth, energy prices, and fuel mix.