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 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 →

IEEFA update: Vogtle nuclear reactor, a runaway project nobody needs

In announcing earlier this month that Southern Company was raising its subsidiary Georgia Power’s share of the already-too-expensive and long-delayed Vogtle nuclear project by $1.1 billion, CEO Tom Fanning increased the utility’s 45.7 percent stake in the plant to $8.4 billion. It seems a highly misguided move. While Fanning continued to defend the roughly 2,234 […]

August 17, 2018 Read More →
IEEFA update: Unmistakable trends in American wind and solar

IEEFA update: Unmistakable trends in American wind and solar

Price, public policy, and technological gains are driving market-share gains

The uptake of renewable energy across the U.S. is occurring now at a speed that almost defies description. At the end of 2007, some 16.7 gigawatts (GW) of wind-generation capacity had been installed; total capacity this year is expected to top 90 GW and additional capacity under construction will soon push the total past 100 […]

IEEFA update: Pushback from the big boys against U.S. coal bailout campaign

Core resistance by colossal players across the energy industry

The Trump administration’s scheme to subsidize the coal industry has nothing to do with grid resiliency or energy security—the White House is simply picking a favorite in the heated battle for market share across the U.S. electricity generation sector. The coal industry is losing this battle. Its contribution to the U.S. electricity generation mix dropped […]