The Energy Information Administration is projecting an even steeper decline in retail sales to the commercial sector in its latest monthly report.
EIA forecast a drop of 9.1% for retail sales to the commercial sector, compared to 6.5% in the May forecast, according to the agency's
Short-Term Energy Outlook. Forecasts for industrial retail electricity sales stayed about the same between this month and last month, at 6.7% and 6.5% respectively.
"EIA forecasts residential sector retail sales will decrease by 1.5% in 2020," unchanged from last month, said the June 9 report. "Milder expected temperatures compared with 2019 reduce EIA's forecast of electricity consumption for space heating and cooling, but that effect is partly offset by an assumed increase in electricity use by more people who are working from home."
Overall, EIA forecasts 5.7% less electricity consumption in the United States in 2020, compared to 2019. Next year, EIA predicts total U.S. electricity consumption will rise by 1%.
A separate report issued by EIA on June 10 predicts that summertime electricity demand will hit its lowest level since 2009 because of efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It predicts that demand will drop to 998 billion kilowatt hours, a 5% drop since last summer.
However, "EIA expects residential electricity sales to grow by 3% this summer because more people are working from home and following social distancing practices," the June 10 report said.
The largest share of this year's utility-scale electricity generation, 41%, will come from natural gas-fired power plants, but that will fall to 36% in 2021 due to higher natural gas prices. Meanwhile, coal is expected to generate 17% of U.S. electricity this year, increasing to 20% in 2021. Nuclear generation is expected to account for 22% in 2020 and 21% in 2021.
Renewable energy, particularly wind and solar, will be the fastest-growing source of electricity generation in 2020, according to this month's report. It will make up 21% of generation this year, up from 17% in 2019. It will increase even more to 23% in 2021. Specifically, there will be an additional 23.2 gigawatts of new wind capacity and 12.6 gigawatts of utility-scale solar capacity this year.
"However, these future capacity additions are subject to a high degree of uncertainty, and EIA continues to monitor reported planned capacity builds," the report said.