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

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 →

Pushback in Wyoming Over Mine Cleanup Responsibilities

Associated Press: A citizen regulatory board has decided more review is needed on proposed rules on how coal companies secure the cost of cleaning up any of their mines that close in Wyoming. The Land Quality Advisory Board on Wednesday remanded the proposed self-bonding rules back to state regulators at the Department of Environmental Quality […]

March 30, 2018 Read More →

Climate-Risk Ruling Throws a Wrench in Federal Coal-Lease Program

Washington Examiner: A judge is forcing the Trump administration to sit down with environmental groups to figure out how to balance climate change concerns with continued mining in the West that supplies 40 percent of the nation’s coal. U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris in Montana issued a ruling Monday that the Interior Department must […]

March 27, 2018 Read More →

Another Step Toward Closure of Major Montana Coal Plant

Billings Gazette: A second Colstrip owner has agreed to be financially ready nine years from now to the shutter the coal-fired power plant’s newest units. Avista Corp., of Spokane, Washington, is putting December 2027 as the end of “remaining useful life” for Colstrip Units 3 and 4. That means the Washington utility will be financially […]

March 21, 2018 Read More →

Westmoreland Coal, Teetering Near Bankruptcy, Wants Montana to Let It Build a Bigger Mine

Bloomberg Environment: The nation’s eighth largest coal company is spiraling deeper into financial crisis, but that’s not stopping Westmoreland Coal Co. from chasing a new mine permit in Montana. Environmentalists now dread three outcomes in succession: first, that regulators approve the permit—which would let Westmoreland widen its existing Rosebud Mine near Colstrip, Mont., by another […]

March 2, 2018 Read More →

Mining Companies Across Biggest U.S. Coal Region See More Declines in Production

S&P Global Market Intelligence: Top producers in the largest U.S. coal basin are guiding investors to further declines in coal volumes from the region in 2018. Three coal companies responsible for producing about three-quarters of the coal that comes out of the Powder River Basin issued guidance that collectively would equal a 1% to 6% […]

February 22, 2018 Read More →

U.S. Coal: ‘Fewer and Fewer Customers’

Bloomberg News: The big problem for Cloud Peak and fellow miners is there are fewer and fewer customers. Between the end of 2011 and 2017, America’s coal-fired power plants lost 15 percent of their generating capacity, from 306 gigawatts to 261 gigawatts. Another 12.5 gigawatts of plants are scheduled to close this year, making 2018 […]

February 20, 2018 Read More →

Wyoming Coal Producer Pins Its Hopes on Asia

S&P Global Market Intelligence: Cloud Peak Energy Inc. is focusing on international markets and the prospect of diminishing utility stockpiles for future coal sales, as limited port capacity and potentially low gas prices threaten 2018 production levels. The coal producer reported a net income of $17.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, a 27.2% […]

February 20, 2018 Read More →

CEO’s Past May Torpedo Company’s Plans to Acquire Wyoming Mines

Casper Star-Tribune: In December, a brand new company called Blackjewel LLC announced plans to buy two Wyoming coal mines. They were considered the “crown jewels” of former coal giant Alpha Natural Resources, and Blackjewel said the mines held promise despite declines in the coal market. By mid-January the fate of that future had hit a […]

February 5, 2018 Read More →