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Higher heating costs projected for this winter amid pandemic

Higher heating costs projected for this winter amid pandemic
Posted at 3:44 PM, Oct 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-15 15:46:16-04

Most Americans will spend more to heat their homes this winter, according to the US Energy Information Administration, part of the Department of Energy.

As coronavirus pandemic safety measures continue around the country, more Americans will be spending more time in their homes this winter compared to previous years. Spending more time in the home for work and school plus the projected forecast for a colder winter, could combine for an increase in natural gas, electricity and propane heating costs.

“EIA generally expects more space heating demand this winter compared with last winter based on forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that indicate colder winter temperatures. U.S. average heating degree days in this forecast are 5% higher than last winter,” the agency stated.

The EIA is projecting households will spend about 6 percent more than last year if they use natural gas, 7 percent more if they use electricity and between 12-18 percent more than last year if using propane for heat this winter.

Those using heating oil could see a decrease of about 10 percent this year over their heating bills last year, according to the agency.

In their short-term energy outlook report, the EIA also said renewable sources of electricity will grow in 2020 and into next year.

“EIA forecasts that renewable energy will be the fastest-growing source of electricity generation in 2020. EIA expects the U.S. electric power sector will add 23.3 gigawatts (GW) of new wind capacity in 2020 and 7.3 GW of new capacity in 2021,” the report stated.

They also expect a 26 percent decrease in US coal production in 2020.

“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,” they stated.

The agency is also projecting a 10 percent decrease in US energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2020, as a result of reduced consumption of fossil fuels. Emissions dropped 2.6 percent from 2018-2019.