Author Archive: Dennis Wamsted

Associate Editor Dennis Wamsted has covered energy and environmental policy and technology issues for 30 years. He is the former editor of The Energy Daily, a Washington, D.C.-based newsletter.

IEEFA New Mexico: Why Acme’s carbon capture plan for San Juan plant won’t work

IEEFA New Mexico: Why Acme’s carbon capture plan for San Juan plant won’t work

Research: Long odds on technical or financial success

A scheme to keep New Mexico’s two-unit, 847-megawatt (MW) San Juan Generating Station operating past its scheduled 2022 retirement hinges on a poorly detailed 10-page plan from a small and little-known New York investment firm.  Acme Equities proposes to retrofit the plant with carbon capture equipment and sell the carbon dioxide for use in enhanced […]

IEEFA U.S.: 5 ways utilities are driving the rapid expansion of solar-plus-storage

Technology gains pose a major threat to baseload power providers

The utility industry, broadly speaking, has a checkered history on renewable energy development, often having fought state renewable energy portfolio standards, curtailed residential net energy metering for solar and brought into question the reliability of wind and solar. But a new dynamic is at play now, especially around solar-plus-storage projects. Here, sharp and continued price […]

February 14, 2019 Read More →

IEEFA U.S.: The federal government’s updated electricity-generation forecast seems already outdated

A more reality-based outlook than before, but still behind the curve

The Energy Information Administration’s release this week of its Annual Energy Outlook includes indications that the agency is beginning to incorporate rapid price renewables-sector declines into its market modelling. But the outlook—like those at the agency that have come before it—still appears out of touch with structural declines in coal and, notably, not very well […]

January 25, 2019 Read More →
IEEFA update: The Energy (Dis)Information Administration

IEEFA update: The Energy (Dis)Information Administration

Will the latest official U.S. outlook for coal markets be based in fact for a change or something else?

The Energy Information Administration will release its annual energy outlook soon, along with its standard cautionary disclaimer as to how it is more a guess than a prediction of what will happen. Oh that it were a better-educated guess. Many policymakers, particularly those in Congress and state legislative bodies that don’t have either the time […]

January 11, 2019 Read More →

IEEFA Georgia: The diminishing importance of coal-fired power generation

Southern Co. offers a case study in the growing momentum behind market-driven electricity-sector transition

IEEFA released a report in November 2015 calling for Southern Co. and its subsidiary Georgia Power—out of respect for investors and ratepayers—to retire the four-unit Plant Hammond coal-fired power station. The report pointed out how flat demand had diminished the need for the plant’s generation capacity and that its electric output was being priced out […]

December 14, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA U.S.: A rough week for the American coal industry

Momentum around declining consumption numbers, utility-company policy, export markets and internal assessments

The economic problems facing the U.S. coal industry have been on manifest display this week. On Tuesday morning, the federal Energy Information Administration reported that coal use in the U.S. is on track to fall to its lowest level since 1979, and that by year’s end consumption will be 44% below the 2007 peak of […]

December 7, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA U.S.: Transition to renewables has taken hold in historically coal-dependent northern Indiana

A Midwestern sign of more change to come

It’s hard to overstate the importance of Northern Indiana Public Service Company’s announcement late last month that it intends to phase out all its coal-fired generation over the next 10 years. In state rankings, Indiana has long been the second- or third-largest coal consumer in the nation, depending on whether you count total coal consumption […]

November 16, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA U.S.: Coal inventories are down at utilities, yes, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be replenished

The tone of third-quarter earnings reports suggests producers aren’t quite getting the picture

The U.S. coal industry’s third quarter earnings reports are out, and one theme is repeated over and over again: Utility-coal inventories are low, which—according to producers—will boost domestic thermal sales going forward. Arch Coal, for example, points out that domestic utility inventories are currently “at the lowest level in four years in terms of days […]

November 7, 2018 Read More →
IEEFA U.S.: Two of Duke Energy’s plants in North Carolina reflect national trend in baseload slippage for coal

IEEFA U.S.: Two of Duke Energy’s plants in North Carolina reflect national trend in baseload slippage for coal

Cases in point: Mayo and Roxboro now operate at a fraction of their capacity

Plant closures grab most of the U.S. coal industry headlines lately, but an equally important story emerging from the data illustrates another facet of change sweeping the utility industry and its suppliers: Coal is losing its foothold as a baseload power resource. This shift is occurring nationally, but what’s happening in North Carolina is a […]

October 29, 2018 Read More →
IEEFA update: Another Texas coal-plant closing, another market signal

IEEFA update: Another Texas coal-plant closing, another market signal

Change continues apace in one of the biggest electricity markets in the U.S.

American Electric Power’s confirmation this week that it plans to close its majority-owned 650-megawatt Oklaunion coal plant in Texas by 2020 may have surprised some people—particularly some policymakers in Washington. The plant is only 31 years old, which is well below the average age for the U.S. coal fleet. And as recently as 2013 it […]

September 28, 2018 Read More →