U.S. power plants will burn about 2.3 percent less coal in 2009 than they did last year as the recession trims electricity demand, the government's top energy forecaster said on Tuesday.
Power plants will burn about 1,017.49 million short tons of coal in 2009, down from 1,041.6 million tons burned in 2008, the Energy Information Administration said in its monthly short-term outlook.
This month's EIA forecast called for the burning of a bit more coal in 2009 than last month's outlook, which expected U.S. power plants to burn about 2.6 percent less coal.
U.S. coal production in 2009 should fall amid weak power demand. U.S. coal production will fall about 4.9 percent in 2009 in response to lower total domestic coal consumption combined with export declines, the EIA said.
Softer global coal demand was expected to cut 2009 U.S. coal exports by about 12 million tons, a 14 percent decrease, the EIA said.
But the EIA said an expected increase in global coal demand in 2010 should result in a 15 percent jump in exports in 2010.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Walter Bagley)