Headlines still emphasize bad news stories for coal, but 2013 remains a strong one for coal consumption.
Led by more electricity being generated from the burning of coal and less from the burning of gas, coal consumption bounced back 8.8% in the first half of 2013. And EIA projects more growth in 2014.
The battle for market share between coal and gas literally takes place daily, with some power plants able to burn either coal or gas. Increases in the price of natural gas has caused switching from gas to coal this year. To date, coal is providing about 39% of US electricity in 2013, compared to 37% in all of 2012.
Until 2008, coal regularly supplied around 50% of America's electricity, but it steadily lost market share to gas through 2012 when it bottomed. This year has been a rebounding year, though coal will never again return to a market share of 50%. Instead, after 2014, coal will slowly lose market share and fall below the 2012 low of 37%.