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 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 […]

IEEFA Update: The U.S. Energy Information Administration Continues to Miss the Mark

IEEFA Update: The U.S. Energy Information Administration Continues to Miss the Mark

In Its Coal-Industry Analyses, a Federal Agency Seems Oblivious to Reality

The Energy Information Administration, the federal agency responsible for national energy data compilation and analysis, has been historically out of sync on its U.S. coal-industry projections and seems every bit as off the mark as ever these days. It’s as if the EIA can’t quit going rogue from reality. In a “Today in Energy” article published […]

IEEFA China: A ‘Sea Change’ in Energy Policy

IEEFA China: A ‘Sea Change’ in Energy Policy

More Big Solar and Wind Projects; Fewer Coal Projects of Any Size

Policy change in China is driving a surge in renewable generation, a flattening of carbon dioxide emissions and a downward trend in coal permitting and construction. While coal still dominates China’s electricity-generation sector, air pollution and related public health concerns alongside mounting worries about global climate change have driven renewables—particularly solar and wind generation—to grow […]

March 23, 2018 Read More →
IEEFA Update: Renewables and Grid Stability Go Hand in Hand

IEEFA Update: Renewables and Grid Stability Go Hand in Hand

How Wind and Solar Enhance Energy Security

Opponents of renewable energy have sought to use the variability inherent in wind and solar electricity generation to campaign against the ongoing integration of such resources into the U.S. electric grid. Variability was the straw man, for instance, in U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s failed bid this past winter to secure Federal Energy Regulatory Commission […]