US energy production fell 4% between 2015 and 2016, it declined for the first time in 6 years. The US coal production was hit even more, it decreased 18%. On the other hand, there was a 7% increase in renewable energy production. US needs a lot of energy to feed its huge economy and growing population.
US net energy imports increased 6% after ten years of consecutive decline. The Energy Information Administration attributes this to rising gasoline demand. Fortune reports that one of the main reasons of the decline are lower energy prices. The drop in coal production outpaced of far the declines in the production levels of petroleum and natural gas that were 5% and 2% respectively.
The declines are due to long-term trends in an economy that demands less energy. US energy consumption has remained stable during the economic expansion that happens today. The fall in coal output will be a challenge for President Donald Trump.
Coal and Trump agenda
President Donald Trump promised to bring back jobs in US coal mining regions but it will be difficult because of the huge drop in coal production. Trump has been supported by people in those depressed economic areas. He has even fought against environmental regulations that were an obstacle for the development of the coal industry. The new regulations will give more power to companies, thus, they will be able to explore and produce energy without obstacles. This is part of his agenda to revitalize United States.
Trump launched those laws lately, thus, they had no impact on last year's coal collapse. Market-watchers and economists are convinced that the decline in the coal production is not related with regulations. They believe it happens because of the natural gas boom and a growing US consumer demand for cleaner energy.