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

Power Company Announces Unexpected Shutdown by Early 2018 of Two More Texas Coal-Fired Plants

Power Magazine: Vistra Energy moved to halt a financial hemorrhage stemming from unprofitable conditions in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), announcing plans to shutter two more coal-fired power plants—the 1.1-GW Sandow Power Plant (which includes a 2009-built unit) and the 1.2-GW Big Brown plant—in early 2018. The company’s decision made public on October […]

October 13, 2017 Read More →
IEEFA Update: Fallout for Peabody’s Wyoming Coal Holdings From Shutdown of Plant in Texas
and

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 →

Industry Insiders and Administration Officials in Backroom Machinations to Preserve Coal Royalty Loophole

Washington Post: Top Interior Department officials worked privately with energy industry representatives during the first weeks of the Trump administration to suspend a new accounting system that would have forced companies to pay millions of dollars more in royalties to the government, documents show. The push to suspend the Obama-era rule, which is the subject […]

October 6, 2017 Read More →

Op-Ed: Interior Has Essentially Allowed the Industry to Perpetrate a Fraud on the U.S. Treasury

Casper Star Tribune: This week in Washington, D.C., the Department of the Interior convened a select group of industry executives and state government officials to serve on a Royalty Policy Committee. The committee will advise the Trump administration on the need for new polices on mineral royalties and other key mechanisms for assuring that American […]

October 6, 2017 Read More →

State Denies Permit on Last of Proposed West Coast Coal-Export Terminals

Seattle Times: The Washington State Department of Ecology has denied a key permit for the Millennium Bulk Terminals in Longview, a decision that if it withstands appeal would kill the last remaining proposal in the state to export Western coal to Asia. The department denied the permit citing nine problem areas, including rail safety, air […]

September 27, 2017 Read More →

Arch Coal, in Nod to Market Trends, Abandons Lease-Expansion Application

SNL: Arch Coal Inc. has withdrawn its application for a lease on a federal tract of land in Wyoming that would have expanded its Black Thunder mine. The request to lease the West Hilight tract was withdrawn at the end of August, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management confirmed in an email. “We currently have […]

September 25, 2017 Read More →

Cloud Peak Energy, in Standing Behind Push for Access to More Federally-Owned Coal, Ignores Market Momentum

Gillette News Record: When Cloud Peak Energy applied in 2015 to open up 3,508 acres of public land to expand the Antelope mine south of Wright, it couldn’t know the industry was on the cusp of a historic downturn spurred by low natural gas prices and increased federal regulation on carbon dioxide emissions and federal […]

September 25, 2017 Read More →

U.S. Ruling a Likely Landmark in Requiring Federal Agencies to Factor Climate Risk Into Policy Decisions

The Hill: A federal court faulted the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Friday for what it said were incorrect assumptions about the climate change impact of mining four coal tracts in Wyoming and the use of that coal. The BLM concluded in 2010 that if companies were not allowed to mine the coal on federal […]

September 18, 2017 Read More →

Montana Coal Industry, With Nowhere to Go but Up, Reports a Production Increase Over Last year

Billings Gazette: “Certainly what we’ve seen is an increase in our sales to our Asia customers primarily in South Korea and Japan,” said Rick Curtsinger, Cloud Peak Energy spokesman. “Last year by the end of the second quarter, we had shipped 200,000 tons of coal to our Asia customers. This year as of June 30, […]

September 5, 2017 Read More →
IEEFA Update: Decoding Glenn Kellow’s Peabody Recovery Strategy (Subsidies, Handouts, Giveaways)

IEEFA Update: Decoding Glenn Kellow’s Peabody Recovery Strategy (Subsidies, Handouts, Giveaways)

A Major Coal CEO Sees Market Intervention as the Only Way Forward

Ask Glenn Kellow his vision for how the coal industry will stage—much less sustain—a comeback and this is what you get: “We not only need to change the playbook, we need to change the entire game.” And: “We’re calling for a two-year moratorium on coal plant retirements, a leveling of the playing field with renewables, […]

August 25, 2017 Read More →