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

IEEFA update: Peabody continues to grapple with decline

Lease relinquishments are a sign of deeper trouble

In Peabody Energy’s recent relinquishment of some of its federal coal leases, the company is cleaning up its production cost side in the face of declining demand, particularly for the lower-quality 8400 BTU product that comes out of the Powder River Basin. The particular Wyoming coal in question has gone from being an asset to […]

September 20, 2018 Read More →

S&P: More coal production cuts coming as plant retirements continue

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($): Coal producers delivered 51.4 million tons of coal, 6.6% of the coal mined in the U.S. in 2017, to power plants scheduled to retire in the next 10 years as a secular decline in domestic demand continues to erode the size of the U.S. coal market. While U.S. producers have […]

September 7, 2018 Read More →

Coal companies stalling on new lease applications

Casper Star-Tribune: Coal companies used to grumble about how long it takes to get coal leased from the federal government. That’s no longer the case. Applications to lease nearly 1 billion tons of coal are pending in Wyoming, not because the federal agency tasked with performing environmental analysis is moving slow, but because coal companies […]

September 6, 2018 Read More →

Falling demand prompts Peabody to cut coal mine lease acreage

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($): Peabody Energy Corp. has asked the U.S. government to let it relinquish thousands of acres of coal leases associated with two of its Powder River Basin coal mines as the region faces ongoing pressure from waning domestic utility demand. Documents from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management show Peabody, the […]

August 30, 2018 Read More →

Legal setback for coal industry on federal leases in Montana and Wyoming

Associated Press: A federal judge in Montana has given the Trump administration until late 2019 to analyze reductions to mining in the nation’s most productive coal fields as a way to fight climate change. The order from U.S. District Judge Brian Morris, issued Tuesday, applies to the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming. The […]

August 3, 2018 Read More →

Powder River Basin coal output down sharply in second quarter

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($): Total coal production declined sharply in the second quarter at some of the largest coal mines in the nation, according to early data from the U.S. Mine Health and Safety Administration. Coal production from the Powder River Basin, the most productive coal region in the U.S., was down 9.9% in […]

July 24, 2018 Read More →

New legal problems for owner of Powder River Basin mines

Casper Star-Tribune: The CEO that obtained Wyoming’s Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr coal mines last year is being sued for alleged unpaid royalties in Appalachia, the second lawsuit that Jeff Hoops’ West Virginia-based company, Revelation Energy, is facing in under a year. Hoops formed Blackjewel LLC, a sister company to Revelation, to take over the […]

July 11, 2018 Read More →

Push to End Self-Bonding in Wyoming Picks Up Speed

The Sheridan Press: The Powder River Basin Resource Council has submitted a petition to the [Wyoming] Department of Environmental Quality to end self-bonding for coal companies in the state, contributing to mounting pressure against the practice. Federal law requires coal companies to secure bonds that will guarantee the costs to restore the land a mine […]

May 7, 2018 Read More →

Editorial: Wyoming Requires an Honest Public Conversation on the Future of Its Economy

Casper Star-Tribune: Because coal in Wyoming isn’t going to reach pre-bust levels, regardless of what happens to the Clean Power Plan. Pruitt isn’t doing the industry any favors by ignoring the market forces that have driven its decline. Wyoming added five coal jobs since the bottom of the bust in 2016. That means that while […]

April 9, 2018 Read More →

Few New Leases on Federal Coal Tracts 1 Year After Moratorium Reversal

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($): A year after the Trump administration lifted a controversial moratorium on federal coal leases, both approvals and new applications are scarce as industry challenges show little sign of abating. “I don’t think there is a whole lot of interest in new coal leasing,” said Mark Squillace, director of the Natural […]

April 5, 2018 Read More →