Author Archive: Seth Feaster

Data Analyst Seth Feaster has 25 years of experience creating visual presentations of complex data at The New York Times and more recently at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He specializes in working with financial and energy data.

IEEFA report: Seven disruptions driving the modernization of electricity generation and transmission

IEEFA report: Seven disruptions driving the modernization of electricity generation and transmission

Overlapping forces spell further declines for coal-fired power

We’ve published a research brief today that looks at the underlying forces driving a global shift in how electricity is generated. Our paper—“The Seven Technology Disruptions Driving the Global Energy Transition”—is a primer on fundamental changes occurring now that are collectively displacing coal from its long-dominant role in power generation. We note in the brief […]

October 5, 2018 Read More →
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 Update: Taxpayer Exposure to U.S. Coal Reclamation Costs Runs Deep

IEEFA Update: Taxpayer Exposure to U.S. Coal Reclamation Costs Runs Deep

Public Risk in Alaska, Colorado, Missouri, North Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming

A report that came out last month from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office recommends that Congress eliminate the risky system of self-bonding by coal-mining companies. But the report also raises concerns about the financial stability of surety-bond companies, a much more common form of reclamation bonding, as well as problems with underfunding for mine cleanup costs. […]

April 20, 2018 Read More →
IEEFA Update: How Will Westmoreland Coal’s Deepening Spiral End?

IEEFA Update: How Will Westmoreland Coal’s Deepening Spiral End?

Disappearing Market Capitalization and Unsustainable Debt

We’ve just published a research brief of interest to any person, community, business, or investor with ties to Westmoreland Coal Co. The brief—“Westmoreland Coal Is in Trouble”—lays out how the company, which produces coal for electricity generation, is hobbled by debt, is losing customers, has suffered a catastrophic drop in stock price, and appears to […]

February 16, 2018 Read More →
IEEFA Update: Fallout for Peabody’s Wyoming Coal Holdings From Shutdown of Plant in Texas

IEEFA Update: Fallout for Peabody’s Wyoming Coal Holdings From Shutdown of Plant in Texas

The Loss of a Key Customer Challenges a Major Mining Company’s Bankruptcy Recovery

[Second of two parts] Luminant’s announcement that it will soon retire the Monticello Plant in Titus County, Texas, improves its bottom line by eliminating a liability from the company’s balance sheet. For Peabody Energy, which supplies that plant with Powder River Basin coal, the shutdown is not such good news. The Monticello plant gets its […]

and October 12, 2017 Read More →

IEEFA Update: Even Coal-Mining Companies Are Complaining About the Price They Pay for Coal-Fired Electricity

Anecdotes of Note, and Some Irony, in Company Filings

Public filings by U.S. coal-mining companies disclose vast data that is crucial to investors—which is the point of having such information publicly available. They also yield revealing anecdotal notes that add perspective and depth to the numbers, and that include wrinkles of irony sometimes. Some coal-fired power has gotten so expensive that coal producers are […]

August 15, 2017 Read More →
IEEFA Update: In Federal Coal-Policy Reversals, Trump Is Handing Out Snowballs in a Blizzard

IEEFA Update: In Federal Coal-Policy Reversals, Trump Is Handing Out Snowballs in a Blizzard

Companies Are Cancelling Applications for New Leases on Public Lands or Seeking Delays; Presidential Pronouncements Seem Little More Than Symbolic

Its reversal earlier this year of a moratorium on federal coal leases put into place last fall by President Obama got the Trump administration lots of applause from the industry. It got more this week for rescinding a rule that came onto the books several months ago in a federal policy change meant to end […]

IEEFA Update: The Coal ‘Comeback’ of 2017

IEEFA Update: The Coal ‘Comeback’ of 2017

The Second-Worst Production Performance in at Least 30 Years Isn’t Much of a Bounce

The U.S. coal industry is making a comeback. So goes the story being spun lately by the industry itself, even if the facts of the matter suggest something else. The coal industry points, among other statistical threads, to the latest Short-Term Energy Outlook from the Energy Information Administration, released July 11, as a harbinger of […]

July 28, 2017 Read More →
IEEFA Update: The U.S. Energy Narrative Is Shifting

IEEFA Update: The U.S. Energy Narrative Is Shifting

Markets Are Changing; the Media Is Catching Up; Renewables Account for 20% of Total Generation in Latest Data Snapshot

What feels sometimes like a reluctant transformation is taking hold in the emergence of a “when” rather than “if” media narrative on the rise of renewable energy. This awakening is especially noticeable in the financial press, which can often seem captive in a historically entrenched way to the very financiers or industries it covers. Myopia […]

IEEFA Update: Two Sets of Data Tell the Same Tale: U.S. Coal Industry Continues to Shed Jobs

IEEFA Update: Two Sets of Data Tell the Same Tale: U.S. Coal Industry Continues to Shed Jobs

Transition in Local and Regional Energy Economies Calls for a Strategy to Promote Growth, Replace Jobs and Sustain Fiscal Budgets

In a research report we published in January, we explained how the U.S. coal industry will very likely continue its overall decline in a trend that will be accompanied by both employment and market volatility. A passage from that report (“Short-Term Gains Muted by Prevailing Weaknesses in Fundamentals”): “Some mine openings and some attendant hirings […]