Powder River Basin Coal

IEEFA Research

IEEFA Research Brief: Coal in Decline, Blow by Blow

IEEFA Research Brief: Coal in Decline, Blow by Blow

Plant Closings and the Likely Effects on Specific Companies and Mines

We’ve published a research brief today that presents an expansive snapshot of a moving target: the decline in U.S. coal-fired generation nationally. As global energy markets continue to undergo rapid transformation, change has swept the U.S. as well. Our brief—“U.S. Coal Phase-out, Blow by Blow: Plant Closings and the Likely Corresponding Effect on Specific Companies […]

April 21, 2017 Read More →
IEEFA U.S. Coal Outlook 2017: Short-Term Gains Muted by Prevailing Weaknesses in Fundamentals

IEEFA U.S. Coal Outlook 2017: Short-Term Gains Muted by Prevailing Weaknesses in Fundamentals

Production Declining by as Much as 40 Million Tons; Prices Failing to Benefit Shareholders or Stimulate New Investment; Anemic Exports; Little or No Gain From Regulatory Relief; Increasingly Dim Employment Prospects

We’re out this morning with our annual outlook for U.S. coal markets, and the picture isn’t pretty. We see the potential for some short-lived strength in the current uptick for coal producers but the title of our assessment sums up the larger view: “Short-Term Gains Will Be Muted by Prevailing Weaknesses in Fundamentals.” You can […]

As Texas Coal-Fired Power Plants Close, Powder River Basin Mines Are Losing Their Largest Customers

Trends Will Force Closures and Complicate Efforts by Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal and Peabody Energy to Work Their Way Out of Bankruptcy

CLEVELAND, Aug. 3, 2016 (IEEFA.org) — The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis today published a report detailing how Powder River Basin coal producers are losing their largest customers as Texas power producers turn increasingly to other sources of energy. The report, “Texas’ Outsize Role in the Decline of the Powder River Basin Coal […]

August 2, 2016 Read More →
The Federal Government’s Coal-Leasing Program Is Broken: Here’s How to Fix It

The Federal Government’s Coal-Leasing Program Is Broken: Here’s How to Fix It

Appoint a Price-Setting Commission; Ban Exports; Cancel Some Leases; Eliminate Self-Bonding; Mandate Set-Asides for Mine Clean-up and Miner Pensions; Require Twice-a-Year Audits; Assume Smaller Markets

It’s time for the U.S. to modernize how it manages its publicly owned coal reserves. That’s the essence of comments we’ve filed today with the Department of the Interior as it begins a review of its federal coal-leasing program in the Powder River Basin, a program that has been mismanaged for years at taxpayer expense […]

IEEFA Analysis: Financial Condition of Montana’s Colstrip 1 and 2 Worse Than Previously Known


IEEFA Analysis: Financial Condition of Montana’s Colstrip 1 and 2 Worse Than Previously Known


Costs to Ratepayers Stand to Increase if Puget Sound Keeps Two Coal-Fired Plants Alive

In testimony today to the state Utilities and Transportation Commission in Olympia, Wash., we are presenting fresh analyses that shows how two coal-fired electricity generators in Montana co-owned by Puget Sound Energy are worse investments  than previously known. Over the past several months, IEEFA has documented how Colstrip 1 and 2 have become an increasingly […]

If Peabody Is to Recover, It Must Close More Mines

If Peabody Is to Recover, It Must Close More Mines

The World’s Biggest Private-Sector Coal Company’s Current Turnaround Strategy Won’t Work

Peabody Energy, the largest private-sector coal-mining company in the world, is out with a dismal review today of its 2015 performance. The metrics unto themselves are damning, and Peabody’s plan for turning things around is even worse. In a report we’ve just published (with the Seattle-based Sightline Institute)—“Peabody’s Strategies for Survival Ignore Market Realities and Risks […]

February 11, 2016 Read More →
As the BLM Begins Coal-Lease ‘Listening Sessions,’ a Few Hard Truths Must Be Heard

As the BLM Begins Coal-Lease ‘Listening Sessions,’ a Few Hard Truths Must Be Heard

Ban Coal Exports From the Powder River Basin, for Starters, and Impose a Moratorium on Taxpayer-Subsidized Leases

U.S. taxpayers own the largest remaining domestic coal reserves in the country, valuable resources that sit in the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming and that are vital to the energy security of our country. The federal government, sad to say, has been an almost pathologically passive overseer of these resources (read more about […]

August 11, 2015 Read More →
Study Concludes That Colstrip 1 and 2 Are Financially Unviable; Cautions Against Further Expenditures

Study Concludes That Colstrip 1 and 2 Are Financially Unviable; Cautions Against Further Expenditures

In an Era of Low Natural-Gas Prices and Competition From Renewable Energy, Phasing Out Two Coal-Fired Units Is the Best Option for Owners

JUNE 23, 2015 (IEEFA) — An analysis of data on operational costs and energy markets by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis questions the financial viability of the two oldest units at the Colstrip coal-fired power plant in eastern Montana. Colstrip Units 1 and 2, which are owned equally by Talen Montana and Puget Sound […]

June 23, 2015 Read More →
Comments on Proposed Consolidated Federal Oil and Gas and Federal and Indian Coal Valuation Reform, ONRR-2012-0004-0024

Comments on Proposed Consolidated Federal Oil and Gas and Federal and Indian Coal Valuation Reform, ONRR-2012-0004-0024

COAL SOLD FOR EXPORT SHOULD NOT BE EXEMPT FROM FEDERAL ROYALTY PAYMENTS

Comments on Proposed Consolidated Federal Oil and Gas and Federal and Indian Coal Valuation Reform, ONRR-2012-0004-0024 By Tom Sanzillo, Director of Finance, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

May 7, 2015 Read More →
Report – No Need for New U.S. Coal Ports: Data Shows Oversupply in Capacity

Report – No Need for New U.S. Coal Ports: Data Shows Oversupply in Capacity

No Need for New U.S. Coal Ports: Data Shows Oversupply in Capacity (pdf) By Tom Sanzillo, Director of Finance, IEEFA  

November 19, 2014 Read More →

More News and Commentary

Wyoming Coal Production Tails Off

Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune: After a surge of coal production at Wyoming’s mines through fall and winter, production dropped by spring, according to preliminary counts by federal mine regulators. Wyoming, the origin of about 40 percent of the country’s coal, produced 72 million tons between April and June, the second quarter of the year. From January […]

July 21, 2017 Read More →

Little Job Recovery Seen in Wyoming Coal Industry

AP: The coal industry in Wyoming has started to rebound but companies are hesitant to hire many workers because of lingering uncertainty, a state economist said. “We are starting to see production come back up, but we are not seeing those jobs show up yet with that,” Jim Robinson, principal economist with the state’s Economic […]

July 19, 2017 Read More →

School Funding Crisis in Wyoming as Coal Industry Struggles

Wyoming Public Media: A funding crisis brought on by a downturn in the coal industry has left policy makers struggling to figure out how to fund education. This year school districts took a hit of $34 million to their operating budgets. That’s primarily money for teachers and staff, as well as materials and supplies. But […]

June 22, 2017 Read More →

Analyst: U.S. Coal Industry Must Consolidate

SNL: The coal industry is “too fragmented” to command pricing power and is in need of consolidation, according to a new note from Seaport Global Securities LLC analysts. Analyst Mark Levin wrote in a June 20 note that the industry has “too many suppliers chasing too few tons.” The report cites a recent claim that […]

June 21, 2017 Read More →

More Declines in Montana Coal Production

Billings Gazette via RTO Insider: Montana coal mines are entering a second straight year of historically low production, industry records show. Coal numbers through the first four months of 2017 show Montana mines producing a third less coal than they did just two years ago. Through April, Montana mines had produced 9.8 million tons of […]

June 14, 2017 Read More →

‘More and More Likely’ Powder River Basin Production Growth Will Slow

SNL: Seaport Global Securities LLC wrote in a new research note it is “looking more and more likely” the Powder River Basin will see volume growth numbers turn negative at some point in 2017. The note states about 330 million tons of coal were shipped from the basin in 2016. Based on data from the […]

June 7, 2017 Read More →

Powder River Basin of Wyoming Is Losing Its Coal-Buying Customers

Casper Star Tribune: While locals counter by saying that the coal industry will survive at a new normal, and economists have said Wyoming coal mining will be the last to go down, the Cowboy State doesn’t dictate the electricity market; it simply provides the material. And many power plants that buy the Powder River Basin […]

May 30, 2017 Read More →

On the Blogs: Call for Investment in Coal Communities Abandoned by Trump

JustTransition.org: The initiative announced today is timely and urgently needed, as federal support for coal communities is winding down,” said Heidi Binko, executive director and co-founder of the Just Transition Fund. “As the Trump administration abandons crucial economic development programs, like the POWER Initiative, philanthropy and the private sector must do more to fill the […]

April 26, 2017 Read More →
IEEFA Research Brief: Coal in Decline, Blow by Blow

IEEFA Research Brief: Coal in Decline, Blow by Blow

Plant Closings and the Likely Effects on Specific Companies and Mines

We’ve published a research brief today that presents an expansive snapshot of a moving target: the decline in U.S. coal-fired generation nationally. As global energy markets continue to undergo rapid transformation, change has swept the U.S. as well. Our brief—“U.S. Coal Phase-out, Blow by Blow: Plant Closings and the Likely Corresponding Effect on Specific Companies […]

April 21, 2017 Read More →

Federal Royalty Loophole for U.S. Coal Companies Is Back

GQ Magazine: The loophole works like this: Coal companies often mitigate paying royalties they owe the federal government by, for example, selling the coal to their own subsidiary at a low price. The subsidiary company then resells it at a much higher price, but royalties are only paid on the below-market self-dealing. As the Center […]

April 5, 2017 Read More →