EIA predicts energy recovery from Covid

Reposted from CFACT

EIA predicts energy recovery from Covid

By David Wojick |October 15th, 2020|Energy

The US Energy Information Administration’s latest “Short-Term Energy Outlook“ includes a wealth of data for the last few years presented in graphic form, often including predictions for the next year or so.

The impact of Covid is clear, with reduced energy use in 2020. EIA says 2021 is looking much better. Here is their basic finding:

The October Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) remains subject to heightened levels of uncertainty because mitigation and reopening efforts related to COVID-19 continue to evolve. Reduced economic activity related to the COVID-19 pandemic has caused changes in energy demand and supply patterns in 2020 and will continue to affect these patterns in the future. This STEO assumes U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 4.4% in the first half of 2020 from the same period a year ago. It assumes that GDP will rise beginning in the third quarter of 2020, and will grow 3.5% year-over-year in 2021.”

Coal took the biggest hit, but is expected to rebound. In addition to reduced demand, coal mining is labor intensive. Coal’s forecast share of electricity generation falls from 24% in 2019 to 20% in 2020 and then returns to 24% in 2021. Natural gas prices are expected to rise as well, causing more coal use. Gas prices have been very low.

They say “EIA expects total U.S. coal production in 2020 to be 525 million short tons (MMst), compared with 705 MMst in 2019, a 26% decrease. COVID-19 and efforts to mitigate it along with reduced demand from the U.S. electric power sector amid low natural gas prices have contributed to mine idling and mine closures. EIA expects production to rise to 625 MMst in 2021, up 19% from 2020. This forecast increase reflects rising demand for coal from U.S. electricity generators because of higher natural gas prices compared with 2020.”

Note that we still burn well over half a billion tons of coal a year. Forecasts of the death of coal are very premature. Our biggest source of juice by far is a mix of coal and gas, which changes with prices.

There is also a lot of data related to that pandemic of green stupidity, the Green New Deal. Here are a few examples.

Wind is still a small source of power and solar is tiny. Both show great growth numbers but that is because there is so little to start with. By way of scale, here are some comparisons.

Wind power generation now equals hydro, at about 7% of all power. Solar is almost in last place, tied with biodiesel. Only biowaste produces less power. Burning wood is still a bigger source of juice than solar. Meanwhile nuclear is chugging along at just over 20%.

In short, switching to all wind and solar basically means completely replacing all of our present sources of electricity. If we then throw in switching all vehicles and space heating to electricity, we not only have to replace our present sources of power, we have to nearly double them.

Speaking of space heating, EIA lists the number of homes by heat source. Fossil fuels dominate, especially in the colder regions, which require the most heat.

For example, in the frigid Northeast there are about 18 million homes burning natural gas, fuel oil, or propane, with just 3.5 million heating with juice. In the cold Midwest there are about 20 million on fossil and just 6 million electric. Only in the balmy South does electricity beat fossil fuels. 

All told there are over 70 million homes that would have to be electrified. At an average cost of, say, $10,000 each that is over $700 billion. Plus the cost of a new grid and power generation to supply all that new juice.

The above is just a peek at the 50+ pages of EIA data, most of it in easy to read charts and tables. The good news is that they forecast a steady Covid recovery. Plus there is a lot to tell us what an enormous waste the Green New Deal would be.


David Wojick, Ph.D. is an independent analyst working at the intersection of science, technology and policy. For origins see


For over 100 prior articles for CFACT see


Available for confidential research and consulting.

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Joel O'Bryan
October 16, 2020 12:29 am

“It assumes that GDP will rise beginning in the third quarter of 2020, and will grow 3.5% year-over-year in 2021.”

Meanwhile in Europe, the shear madness continues uninterrupted by any moments of sanity from the Elites:

“Europe braces for more coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions as cases spike, winter looms”

“There are no good options,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a statement. “I know these further restrictions will require Londoners to make yet more sacrifices, but the disastrous failure of the test, trace and isolate system leaves us with little choice.”

In France, President Emmanuel Macron put 18 million residents in nine regions, which he called “health emergency zones,” under a 9 p.m. curfew starting Saturday. The curfew, which also covers Paris, will last for at least four weeks and possibly through Dec. 1.”


The hubris of Mankind is most glaringly apparent in these Leftists who think they know what is best for everyone. Some how it was probably Trump’s fault for the “the disastrous failure of the test, trace and isolate system” in London.

Those “disastrous” outcomes will only continue, whether it is claimed controls of a highly transmissible respiratory virus, a virus they do not understand nor can control… to climate and how it changes, which they do not understand and cannot control. Meanwhile in Sweden…..

Same as it is was. Just say NO to these Elitist idiots.

An God help us if Dementia Joe or Komrade Kamala and their band of Intellectual Idiots are allowed to run the USA, for surely these same kind of idiotic actions and disastrous lockdown failures will be put on steroids here.

Robert W. Turner
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
October 16, 2020 5:28 am

Sadly, leftist governors/mayors/county officials will lock everything down again soon. A disease that is a threat to 0.1% of the population must damage the lives of everyone, it is the collectivist way. If only we had a moral health administration, they could simply tell everyone to take vitamin D supplements and be done with it.

October 16, 2020 1:43 am

This STEO assumes U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 4.4% in the first half of 2020 from the same period a year ago.

Is that all? That’s a big surprise considering all the lockdowns.

With regard to policy … Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore have done very well. Chinese languages are spoken in those places and they have close ties to China. In other words, they know what is going on in China. That means they reacted to the Wuhan flu before it was even named Covid-19.

As far as I can tell, Taiwan hasn’t needed a lockdown. What ever those folks are doing is what we should have been doing. The lockdowns seem like closing the barn door after the horses are gone.

October 16, 2020 2:07 am

We need Griff to explain why China is burning coal, gas and diesel at new record rates rather than installing renewables which has fallen off a cliff. Never one to not spin a good story to all the greentards it has released a new plan to be carbon zero by 2060. After you get up from rolling around laughing it does beg the question how stupid are the greentards to buy it.

Australian coal exports to China had been up 8% but with plenty of coal around with covid this week Xi has asked importers to stop ordering Australian coal as the trade spat continues. It will be interesting to see if other Asian markets take the excess Australian coal that will be kicking around the markets for next few months.

October 16, 2020 4:09 am

China’s need to burn coal gas and diesel is to provide the West with cheap renewables, a win win for them. Since most of us in the West no longer have the manufacturing capability, the UN recognise that renewables don’t really come about from unicorns and their rainbow farts. As such, and because the CCP regime has no scruples in how they get things done, they have been sanctioned by the UN to just get the job done. It’s OK China, we’ve declared you a developing nation, no rules for you.

I’ve been to China, more than once. There is a unique beauty in their countryside and their history and architecture. My visits were in both tourist and non tourist areas but I was struck by how modern the infrastructure was, everywhere. The main road systems were incredible, whole cities are built all at once, block after block of construction. Guangdong is not a tourist area, we had the the privilege of being invited by a friend. It’s a modern city with gardens, cafe’s and spacious apartments. A young man approached us and asked if we minded having our photo taken with his grandmother as she had never seen a westerner before.

Such a modern a sophisticated country. They are most definitely not a developing nation. They have the most billionaires in the world, they own land and major infrastructure in many western countries, their military is arguably the largest in the world. They have space programs and nuclear capabilities. Just so people don’t jump down my throat, yes of course there is poverty too, just like we have in western nations.

Australia is becoming closer to developing nation status, we are going backwards. We must be the only so called developed nation that does not have and never has had nuclear energy. And here we are blowing up our coal fire energy plants. We once had a thriving manufacturing industry, energy became so expensive and unreliable many of them have shut down or gone offshore.

China have no intention of making any commitment to reducing CO2. As the West gives up it’s reliable energy and hands over it’s manufacturing they laugh at us. Our politicians are easy prey to their generous gifts and lavish dining experiences, which is of course part of their culture and will be as big as the stakes are. Our politicians are being bought, they are weak.

The CCP are not our friends, any business they conduct with foreign nations is to gain power. They will give up nothing, though they will very cleverly pretend to, it’s a game they play. Sadly there are just too many politicians who are easily bought. A bit like the ‘rent’ for farmers in regard to renewables, it doesn’t occur to them that they are selling out their community, and the politicians are selling out their country. So much money… hard to say no. How will this renewable trash be disposed of at end of life? Who will be responsible?…that’s decades away, so much money…hard to say no. Besides, a person has to clean up the atmosphere for our grandchildren, don’t we?…so much money.

If Joe Biden is elected, the global downward spiral will be rapid.

Reply to  Megs
October 16, 2020 5:07 am

I am an American who lives in Vietnam and has traveled to China many times. The major cities may be modern (Shanghai is incredible), but the people are anything but sophisticated. As a general rule the Chinese are pushy, rude and bullying. They are not well thought of in most of SE Asia. There are obvious exceptions, but sophisticated is never a word I would use to describe the Chinese.

Reply to  Marc
October 16, 2020 4:19 pm

Marc, I haven’t spent more than a three weeks in total in China let alone live there. I agree that out and about, on the street the people can definitely come across as rude and as bullies. Particularly in the marketplace and small shops. They don’t make alot of money so they focus on business and can’t afford to waste time. The population as you know is sizable, it’s pretty much survival of the fittest. You don’t get anywhere living there if you politely stand back.

I am going on my experience of Chinese people. We have a Chinese/Australian friend of forty five years who on retirement spent half of his time in Australia, and split the rest between Hong Kong and mainland China. He and his wife were very sophisticated, kind and generous people. His family here in Australia and in mainland China treated us very well.

My reference ‘sophisticated’ was to how the ‘country’ appears, as with your experience of Shanghai. It was to point out that China is most definitely not a ‘developing’ nation. I am also under no illusion in regard to the CCP. They are beyond being rude or being bullies. The people know only the propaganda they are fed and act accordingly.

We are headed in the same direction. Censorship deprives people of the whole story then someone fills in the blanks to suit their agenda and shouts down those who tell a different story.

Reply to  Megs
October 16, 2020 9:50 am

Megs — well stated. In many respects, the US too is declining — infrastructure has badly aged and not being rebuilt, few large engineering projects that used to define the US are done anymore. The culture has declined along w/the material constructs. Cultural decline promotes marxism/socialism/government dependence and attendant decline of morals, ethics, and personal responsibility.

Geoff Sherrington
October 16, 2020 4:37 am

In the early 1990s I made several trips to China, some to the far west province of Yunnan, where total foreign visitors numbered 380 in 1993. It was quite crude as they started to recover from the muderous Mao communism, to build jet-capable airstrips etc. The pace of development in the following 25 years has been astounding. There are lessons there, about what can happen when governments stop hindering private enterprise and start to encourage it.
Here in Australia, we still have government bans on nuclear electricity. Nobody can tell me why. It is just one example from many possible, of government hindering. The logic escapes me, but the poverty it is causing us all is hurtful. Geoff S

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
October 16, 2020 6:15 am

Do you wonder Geoff, if the fact that all major political parties in Australia have moved so far to the left has contributed to the slowdown of private enterprise?

The control that the Queensland and Victorian State governments are practicing in regard to coronavirus lockdown is nothing short of ugly. The totalitarian rollout of renewable energy right across Australia reeks of authoritarianism. No one, anywhere in the world has thought through the amount of damage being done by renewable energy and batteries. I am yet to hear any upside to this choice of energy. There is no upside!

Private enterprise cannot thrive if you are unsure of what new rules or mandates might be just around the corner to stifle your efforts. Feeling controlled is not conducive to setting out on new business venture.

Now that freedom of speech has been all but removed, and our feeling that our choices are being restricted, it seems to me we have already lost a great deal. Certainly doesn’t lend to feeling confident about the future.

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
October 16, 2020 6:53 am

I don’t know why you would want nuclear… it is eye wateringly expensive, takes ages to build, the electricity it produces is far more expensive than gas or renewables, it is difficult to get a return on investment and the decommissioning costs are extraordinary -and never fully allowed for at build time

Reply to  griff
October 16, 2020 8:05 am

Dear Griff,

One question for you, have you ever been in france?
The nuclear energy centre of the world?

Spend some time googling power prices, grid stability, electrification level of for instance houses in France.

You might find it enlightening.


Reply to  Willem69
October 16, 2020 8:13 am

The griff collective believes what they are told to believe. Like all good socialists.

Reply to  Willem69
October 16, 2020 11:34 am

sorry, but griff will NEVER become “enlightened”..

His whole miserable, lying, anti-life, anti-human existence relies on that fact..

Reply to  griff
October 16, 2020 8:12 am

It’s only “eye wateringly expensive” when you allow the activists to gum up the works. China doesn’t suffer from that problem.

Reply to  MarkW
October 16, 2020 11:39 am

Things that griff can never allow itself to understand.

Reliability, frequency and voltage stability, dispatchability.

And no , it is not more expensive that renewables, because the grid implementation costs are so low compared to unreliables.

Reply to  griff
October 16, 2020 3:42 pm

Griff, almost all forms of power are taxed. These taxes affect the cost of power.

Griff, renewables are the exception, they are not taxed, they have large amounts of money thrown at them by way of subsidies. But you know very well that renewables cannot stand on their own. You must know that a nuclear power plant is reliable and runs at an extraordinary efficiency for three to four times the life of the unreliable renewable energy infrastructure. It’s not likely there is enough mined resources available globally to replace renewable infrastructure three times over in the life of nuclear plants, on a global scale. And that doesn’t include whatever symbiotic form of power is being used to prop it up.

You imply that renewables infrastructure is cheap. Do you know what materials are necessary to build wind turbines, solar and batteries? Replacing renewables infrastructure alone, three times, in the 80 year life of a nuclear plant is cheaper? And the backup batteries don’t even last the life of the wind or solar infrastructure.

Have you considered the amount of land required for wind turbines and solar panels? There was a time that a person could go through their entire lifetime and not see where their source of power originated. That’s not the case today. You are lucky if you can travel distances without being confronted with this blight on the landscape. And we are already being confronted with the scale of disposal, now that older renewables infrastructure is reaching end of life.

You do know that much of this infrastructure is going to landfill don’t you? This in itself unacceptable, not to mention unsustainable. Not to mention that which is sold to developing countries under the pretence that it’s useful. A way of virtue signalling and getting rid of junk that would have cost alot to recycle in any ‘proper’ way. Of course there really is no economical way to dispose of renewables waste. Most of the concrete bases of wind turbines are left in situ, the next generation of turbines can’t use them because they are so much bigger. The blades of turbines are almost impossible to recycle. There is technically ways to deal with them but unless it is mandated, few will voluntarily spend the megabucks necessary to make it happen, for little if any return, and for something that shouldn’t exist in the first place.

Wasn’t the whole premise of renewable energy to ‘save the environment’? Can you not see that wind and solar are creating immense environmental damage? Environmentalists tell us that vast areas of land are being destroyed every hour across the globe. Of course they don’t go into detail, it was just something someone said so it must be because of AGW. It has nothing to do with AGW Griff, it’s the bulldozers that destroy every living plant and small animal across tens of thousands of square kilometres/miles, and repeat, over and over across the planet. They fill in the homes of every mole, hedgehog, wombat, gopher or what ever small animals live in different countries everywhere. They bulldoze small dams and watering holes, destroying echo systems that have developed over time, and for what Griff? Please, show me the point to all this. Name one benefit.

Tell me, in what way is renewable energy cheaper? Your cost comparison is ludicrous. If they ever stop the subsidies, renewables energy will die. Or we can only hope so, before they totally destroy the environment.

Reply to  Megs
October 18, 2020 1:27 pm

“Wasn’t the whole premise of renewable energy to ‘save the environment’? Can you not see that wind and solar are creating immense environmental damage?”

Meg, your contribution to this discussion is so valuable. Thank you.
Why is it taking so long for some people to realize that the sacred environmental movement was hijacked by the wind industry and that these turbines and their infrastructure are a disaster?
Why does the interconnection of species mean nothing to the hijackers?

Reply to  Sommer
October 18, 2020 6:27 pm

Sadly Sommer, once someone realised that there is alot of money to be made from renewables and batteries, the rant about the environment became a marketing tool.

You are absolutely right, it started with altruistic intentions. But the business plan was to take advantage of the environmentalists and convince them that anthropogenic CO2 was growing at an unprecedented rate and presented a huge risk because it was warming the planet. Renewable energy, batteries and EV’s were promoted as the prime solution to this problem and the fastest way to avoid catastrophic warming. Renewables of course are the ‘product’ of the business plan.

The rot set in more than twenty five years ago when science lost its transparency, when true scientific debate ended and ultimately with science being bought out by politicians.

It was in the interest of the corrupt politicians and scientists that the story didn’t change, that renewables were the only way to reduce the risk of global warming. So the message was reinforced to environmentalists and the general public to get on board, that the change was a massive but necessary task.

Environmentalists, activists and journalists have become the unwitting marketing tools of this scam. Who wouldn’t want to promote a way to save the world? I don’t think the scammers, in the beginning anyway, that they expected this scam to be so successful.

The journalists have, like the corrupt scientists and politicians, shut down debate. It’s likely that many of them truly believe that it is their duty to make sure that renewables have a smooth transition. Of course the renewables industry is so long entrenched now that they have their own journalists, they promote their product hard.

The corrupt scientists put forward their own marketing tools. The infamous hockey stick, the “97% of scientists agree” BS, the story of the declining numbers of polar bears, the rising seawater, the disappearing ice caps, the imminent demise of the GreatBarrier Reef to name but a few. None of it true, but good marketing for the ignorant, sadly large numbers of people.

The politicians, now I think that there are those who have fallen for the whole scam hook line and sinker, much to the detriment of their nations. And there are those who are orchestrating and manipulating the rollout of the renewables industry for reasons that are in no way altruistic. The ease with which they were able to take control has opened doors for further corruption on a much larger scale.

The activists love to make noise and organise rallies with chants and colourful signs. They are aggressive and in your face with whatever their message is at the time. But they get attention, and they are promoted by the media thereby spreading the message further.

So you see the marketing is massive, and much of it was easily whipped up at no cost to the scammers. Insisting that people ‘trust the science’.

I have nothing but admiration for scientists. I am excited to see scientific debate, even if it is only on this site. I don’t understand the pure science, but I can get a feel for the concepts. And it confirms for me that the science is not settled, and thank goodness for that because I’m I tired of the regurgitated lies that we have been fed for decades now. I hope that science can once again be put forward and properly peer reviewed. Of course I understand that not all the sciences are corrupt, but the ones that are, are causing what could become irreversible damage to the planet. And the general population know nothing about it.

I believe that through this site scientists can make a difference but the ordinary people deserve to be involved in the discussion. The achievements of scientists affect policies, which ultimately affects us all.

Lord Monckton has something up his sleeve, I hope he can pull it off. I want to see the names of the scientists on this site associated with accolades and achievements, written about in journals and on MSM.

Sorry to be so verbose Sommer, it’s the frustration of not having a platform that will give me a voice. I have learned much of what I know from this site, you’ve heard it all before. I need to find a way to make this public discussion.

October 16, 2020 6:37 am

“In short, switching to all wind and solar basically means completely replacing all of our present sources of electricity. If we then throw in switching all vehicles and space heating to electricity, we not only have to replace our present sources of power, we have to nearly double them.”

The trouble is, we can’t replace our present sources. Fossil or nuclear sources will be needed for backup for times the wind and sun are not available. We will have one electricity production system for the price of two. At least many more people will be employed making electricity. That’s the genius of political engineering!

Reply to  DHR
October 17, 2020 9:32 am

And with the limited functional life of wind and solar, the entire productive system will need to be replaces at 5% a year when, even with all the subsidies, they cannot build 5% of the capacity per year for the current electrical power needs alone. Don’t forget that wind and solar are not “sustainable” because they are not recyclable.

Mike McHenry
October 16, 2020 8:08 am

I follow EIA’s this week in petroleum. Gasoline demand has recovered to within 600K BBL/day of ago year. That’s only 6 to 7 percent off the typically 9 million BBL/day. That doesn’t fit the picture of millions working from home.

Reply to  Mike McHenry
October 16, 2020 1:23 pm

Maybe a lot more generators Mike? Even the people need backup in an unreliable grid.

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