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2018 Energy Predictions & Trends

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In our final blog of this three part year-in-review series, we’re looking ahead to the new year. As 2018 rapidly approaches,  here’s a look at just some of the energy-related items to keep an eye out for.


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A Temporary Return of Coal?

According to the Energy Information Administration, coal production “for the first 11 months of 2017 is estimated to have been 719 million short tons (MMst), which is higher than production for the same period in 2016.”

One reason for the surge, experts say, is that natural gas is more expensive on a per-unit basis. When combined with the subsidies President Donald Trump’s administration has put in place for coal production, that gap may grow.

Currently, more than half of U.S. states mine coal, led by top producers:

  • Wyoming (40%),
  • West Virginia (11%)
  • Kentucky (8%)
  • Illinois (6%)
  • Pennsylvania (6%)


Experts believe this will continue into at least the first half of 2018.

Whether any of this is sustainable is another question entirely, as globally, coal production continues  to decrease. For one, the most noted industry expert of all,  the EIA, predicts a significant drop.

Related Content: Direct Energy Business President John Schultz’s 4 Big Things to Watch in 2018

Natural Gas Consumption Patterns

Natural gas was the fastest growing fuel in 2017.

Global consumption of natural gas increased 1.4% this year, which made it the fastest growing fossil fuel in 2017. And because of increased U.S. exports, it shows no signs of slowing  next year.  

Technology Disrupting the Energy Sector

Innovation is fueling the energy sector like never before, transforming the way businesses source, consume and save energy. In particular with the Internet of Things (IoT) tech.

One great example is Panoramic Power from Direct Energy Business, which lets businesses and consumers track exactly how much energy they consume and where they can save. The result: less waste, lower demand and conscientious use.

Related Content: How Real-Time Data Insights are Boosting This Plastic Recylcer

Blockchain is another technology which could have a huge impact in the energy sector. A decentralized network of linked and secured information storage, it could mean increased efficiency and more affordable energy production. Between IoT and Blockchain, the possibilities are endless. And the U.S., England and Germany are leading the way.

Where We’re Headed with Renewable Energy

Even as there are policies in place from the Presidential administration that encourage a bigger reliance on fossil fuels in the U.S., the growth of renewables at home and abroad can’t be ignored.

Cases in point: Vox predicts a 50% drop in the cost of wind power and that solar will provide 50% of our entire electricity generation — both by 2030. And per Clean Technica, renewable energy sources will account for 85% of global electricity by 2050.


For the whole story on 2017 Energy Highlights, as well as Policy Changes and 2018 Predictions, check out the Year in Review: Energy Industry News & Events from 2017.

 year in review


Posted: December 20, 2017