Coal Use, Production Rose in 2010


"Total U.S. coal consumption in 2010 increased 5.1% over 2009."

Power-Gen Worldwide

U.S. coal production increased to 1,085.3M short tons in 2010, according to preliminary data from the EIA. U.S. coal consumption increased in all sectors except commercial and institutional (formerly commercial and residential), while coal stocks fell slightly.

Overall, coal production rose 1% in 2010. The interior and Western regions increased production by 7.4% and 1.1%, respectively, while the Appalachian region decreased 2.1%. An increase in Interior Region production was boosted by a 6.5M short ton increase in Texas production. The Interior and Western regions produced 10.8M short tons and 6.6M short tons, respectively, in 2010.

Improvements in the U.S. economy led to an increase coal use, along with a cold winter and warm summer in coal-consuming regions. Total coal consumption increased by 5.1% from 2009 levels to 1,048.3 million short tons. Coal-fired generation increased by 42M short tons in the electric power sector and by 13.9% in all other sectors.

Coal prices per short ton for the electric power sector rose by 1.4% and 3.9% for independent power producers to $41.49/short ton. Coking coal prices increased 7.4% to an average price of $153.59/short ton while prices for the industrial sector decreased 1%. U.S. export prices for metallurgical coal rose by 23.5% in 2010, while exports for U.S. steam coal decreased 11%. The average price of imported coal rose 12.3%. Coal prices at electric utilities increased to $45.09/short ton—the 10th consecutive year it increased.

Total 2010 U.S. coal exports increased by 38.3% to 81.7M short tons, and U.S. coke exports increased by 11.9% to 1.5M short tons of coal in 2010.

In 2010, coal imports represented 1.9% of total U.S. coal use—a decrease of 3.3–19.4 million short tons. The U.S. imports a majority of its coal, 75%, from Columbia.

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