The 2021 decline in natural gas is the first year-over-year decline in the gas generation since 2017 due to higher prices and increased competition from renewable sources. Compared with 2020, the total electricity generation increased by 6.6%, primarily attributable to colder winter weather.
Coal-fired generation has increased by nearly 40% in the first four months of 2021, compared with the same period of 2020, making up for 23% of the total generation.
As a response to lower production & higher winter heating demand during the 2020 seasons, prices have risen considerably over the past year compared with the prior heating season. The natural gas-fired generation has also experienced increased competition from renewable sources, mainly because of the recent record-breaking additions of wind and solar plants.
EIA expects declines in the natural gas-fired generation to continue throughout 2022, with a 6.8% decline in 2021 and another 2.3% in 2022.