Coal output of the US Northern Appalachian region slid 26.7% on the year to 77.95 million short tons (70.72 million tonnes) in 2020, according to the recent data from the Mine Health and Safety Administration of the United States.
Its output fell to the low point since 1984 at least, data showed.
In Q42020, coal production in the region increased 7.1% over the third quarter to 21.04 million short tons, 17.5% lower than the same period last year.
In the period, 97.4% (20.49 million short tons) of coal produced in the region were bituminous coal, and the remaining 545,600 short tons were anthracite.
By mine type, coal production of underground mines rose 7.64% from the previous quarter but fell 15.96% from the year-ago level to 19.59 million short tons; the output of opencast mines was 1.45 million short tons, increasing 1.4% quarter on quarter but down 34.09% year on year.
Coal production in Powder River Basin, another major coal producing area in the United States, dropped 21.8% year on year to 230 million short tons in 2020. The coal industry in the area suffered great pressure in 2020 due to the epidemic outbreak and sluggish demand for thermal power. Coal miners had to cut production and lay off hundreds of mine workers in 2020.
Morgan Stanley said on February 1 that coal may exit from the US power system by 2033 amid increasing environmental protection pressure and rising voices for carbon free power generation. More and more state governments have issued regulations requiring power plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Consequently, power generation from renewable energy sources will increase as fossil fuel consumption decreases. In the US, renewable energy is expected to take up 39% in its power mix by 2030 and the proportion may rise to 55% by 2035, Morgan Stanley predicts.
US President Biden has promised to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 during the election.
(Writing by Shengnan Liu Editing by Harry Huo)
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