Author Archive: David Schlissel

Director of Resource Planning Analysis David Schlissel is a long-time consultant, expert witness, and attorney on engineering and economic issues related to energy. He has testified in more than 100 court proceedings or cases before regulatory bodies.

IEEFA Op-Ed: Coal Will Not Recover

IEEFA Op-Ed: Coal Will Not Recover

Falling Prices for Other Fuels, Not Regulation, Is the Problem

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Coal production in the United States has declined enormously in recent years due to the simple reason that the coal-fired power industry is producing less of the country’s electricity than ever. As recently as 10 years ago, coal-fired power plants provided half of America’s power needs. Today that number is closer […]

October 24, 2016 Read More →
IEEFA Update: Many Hurdles Facing U.S. Coal-Fired Power Fleet

IEEFA Update: Many Hurdles Facing U.S. Coal-Fired Power Fleet

Old Age, the Rise of Renewables, Competition From Natural Gas, Advances in Technology

Why has U.S. coal production declined so enormously in recent years? Because the coal-fired power industry is producing less of the country’s electricity than ever. As recently as 10 years ago, coal-fired power plants provided half of U.S. power needs. Today that number is closer to 30 percent—and falling. Coal is not likely to fade […]

October 11, 2016 Read More →
IEEFA Data Byte: For Key Coal-Fired Plants in Texas, the Baseload Party Is Over

IEEFA Data Byte: For Key Coal-Fired Plants in Texas, the Baseload Party Is Over

A Picture Worth a Thousand Words on Capacity-Factor Declines Since 2008

One of the points we touched on a few weeks ago when we reported on the declining role of coal-fired electricity plants in Texas is that they aren’t the baseload workhorses they used to be. Our report—“The Beginning of the End: Fundamental Changes in Energy Markets Are Undermining the Financial Viability of Coal-Fired Power Plants […]

October 5, 2016 Read More →
IEEFA Texas: The Beginning of the End for Coal-Fired Electricity Across One of the Biggest Power Markets in the U.S.

IEEFA Texas: The Beginning of the End for Coal-Fired Electricity Across One of the Biggest Power Markets in the U.S.

Report Finds Seven Plants Emblematic of a Fading Industry

We published a research report today describing how the coal-fired electricity industry in Texas is in decline and unlikely to recover in the face of rising competition from other energy sources. Our report—“The Beginning of the End: Fundamental Changes in Energy Markets Are Undermining the Financial Viability of Coal-Fired Power Plants in Texas”—looks specifically at […]

September 12, 2016 Read More →
IEEFA Ohio: Damn Tradition, Bailouts Are Where It’s At

IEEFA Ohio: Damn Tradition, Bailouts Are Where It’s At

Update: FirstEnergy Piles Insult Onto Billions of Dollars in Injury by Threatening to Move Its Headquarters From Akron

Call me old-fashioned, but I’ve always thought investor-owned electric utilities were set up to provide power to consumers who paid for what they got.    In states where electricity is deregulated, utility companies compete for customers—just like any other business does. And in states where utilities are regulated, public-utility commissions determine how rates are set […]

August 24, 2016 Read More →
IEEFA Kentucky: Owensboro Coal-Fired Power Plant Is No Longer Viable


IEEFA Kentucky: Owensboro Coal-Fired Power Plant Is No Longer Viable


Increasingly Expensive to Operate and a Drain on Ratepayers 


We’ve published a memorandum today explaining why the aging coal-fired Elmer Smith power plant in Owensboro, Ky., must be retired soon and how Owensboro Municipal Utilities would do well to invest in renewable electricity generation instead. Our memorandum describes how the plant—whose two units date from 1964 and 1974—has become increasingly uneconomic to operate and […]

IEEFA Montana: Closing of Two Coal-Fired Units Is an Acknowledgment of Their Failure to Compete

IEEFA Montana: Closing of Two Coal-Fired Units Is an Acknowledgment of Their Failure to Compete

Lawsuit Settlement Sets Retirement of Colstrip 1 and 2 by 2022


News yesterday that a pair of coal-fired power-generation units in Montana will finally close had an air of inevitability about it. Here’s the lead from the Associated Press story: “The Colstrip coal plant in Montana that serves utility customers across the Pacific Northwest—including Puget Sound Energy customers—agreed to shut down two of its four units and limit […]

Emblematic of a Sector in Distress, Homer City Power Station in West Pennsylvania Is on the Ropes

Emblematic of a Sector in Distress, Homer City Power Station in West Pennsylvania Is on the Ropes

The Hour Is Late for This Generator and for the Mines That Supply It; More Evidence that U.S. Merchant Coal Plants Are No Longer Viable

In late 2012, Edison International’s 1,884-megawatt Homer City Generating Station in western Pennsylvania went bankrupt. The subsequent workout allowed General Electric Capital Corp, the major bondholder in the plant, to take control. Now, on the heels of a weak end-of-year 2015 financial report, GE has indicated that the plant is in default on its debt […]

A Darker Day Has Just Dawned for Two Long-Outdated Ohio Power Plants

A Darker Day Has Just Dawned for Two Long-Outdated Ohio Power Plants

June 1 Marks the Start of a New Year in PJM Capacity Markets and an Abrupt 70% Drop in FirstEnergy’s Revenues on Selling Generation Capacity from Its Sammis and Davis-Besse Power Plants

It came as quite the paradox when CEO Chuck Jones announced in April that the company’s Sammis and Davis-Besse plants had  “contributed to” first-quarter earnings. After all, FirstEnergy had been trying to get Ohio state officials to go along with a consumer-financed bailout of these failing assets—all part of a corporate scheme our research has […]

IEEFA Memo: Buyer Beware on Montana Power Plant

IEEFA Memo: Buyer Beware on Montana Power Plant

Weighing a Proposition That Would Cost Ratepayers and Taxpayers Hundreds of Millions of Dollars

We’ve written a buyer-beware letter today to members of the Montana legislature on the perils of taking an ownership stake in the aged Colstrip Power Plant in eastern Montana. News organizations have reported recently that some state officials want to explore having either NorthWestern Energy—or the state itself—own or assist in the continued operation of […]