Powder River Basin Coal

IEEFA Research

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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

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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  

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Report: 20 Fourth-Quarter Questions for Powder River Basin Coal Producers

Report: 20 Fourth-Quarter Questions for Powder River Basin Coal Producers

20 Fourth-Quarter Questions for Powder River Basin Coal Producers (pdf) By Tom Sanzillo, Director of Finance, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

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More News and Commentary

IEEFA Guest Commentary: Cloud Peak Pulls Back From Once-Ambitious Coal-Export Plans

In Reworking of Pacific Rim Contracts, an Acknowledgement of Market Realities

In another sign of the collapsing prospects for West Coast coal exports, Cloud Peak Energy—one of the largest coal producers in the American West and the best positioned coal exporter in the vast Powder River Basin—recently announced that it had extricated itself from long-term contracts to move coal into Pacific Rim markets. It was a costly retrenchment: the […]

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U.S. Coal Companies Dodge Federal Royalty Reform

From the Washington Post: The Interior Department has informed coal, oil and gas companies this week they do not need to comply with a new federal accounting system that would have compelled them to pay millions of dollars in additional royalties. The Office of Natural Resources Revenue’s new method of calculating royalties for minerals extracted […]

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IEEFA Guest Commentary: Peabody Must No Longer Be Self Bonded

IEEFA Guest Commentary: Peabody Must No Longer Be Self Bonded

‘Dodging Debt Obligations Through Bankruptcy Proceedings’

Wyoming’s Department of Environmental Quality is facing a critical decision regarding Peabody Energy and whether the company can continue to self-bond for its $728 million Wyoming coal mine cleanup obligation. Self-bonds are unsecured IOUs, uncollectable when a company hides under bankruptcy protection. Peabody is the nation’s largest coal company, and is going through Chapter 11 […]

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On the Blogs: As Industry Replaces Workers With Machines, ‘Bleak Outlook for Trump’s Promises to Coal Miners’

Devashree Saha and Sifan Liu for the Brookings Institution: The problem facing the coal industry is not unique: Automation is rapidly reducing employment in mining and manufacturing. Across a wide range of industries, from car manufacturing to computing, robots or artificial intelligence are increasingly taking over roles traditionally performed by humans. The same is true […]

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Op-Ed: Taxpayers Gain if Federal Coal-Lease Reforms Stand

Meredith Fowlie for The Conversation: The federal coal program is supposed to manage vast federally owned coal reserves, which account for more than 40 percent of U.S. coal production, “for the benefit of current and future generations.” But the program has, for a long time, been criticized for selling taxpayers short. For this and other […]

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

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Dreams of an Export Coal Slurry Pipeline Out of Wyoming

Andrew Graham for WyoFile.com: What Von Flatern is dreaming of is a coal slurry pipeline. The line would carry coal, mixed with water into a slurry that could travel along a pipeline to potential ports on the west coast, with Asia – Korea and Japan, Von Flatern says, but also possibly China – as the […]

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Blocking U.S. Move Toward Coal-Lease Reform Would Only Hurt the Oversupplied Coal Industry

Josh Learn for SNL Beta: As the results of the federal election settle in across the country, coal advocates see a possible end in sight for the federal coal lease moratorium under President-elect Donald Trump. However, some coal opponents say that halting the moratorium will actually “hasten the decline” of the industry in the U.S. […]

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On the Blogs: ‘5 Charts That Show How Coal Is Getting Killed in Texas’

Katherine Tweed for GreetechMedia.com: Coal-fired power plants are facing increasing financial distress due to low prices in the Texas electricity market, a trend that is unlikely to reverse, according to a new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, The Beginning of the End. The pressure on coal is coming primarily from […]

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The Powder River Basin Bust

Tim Loh for Bloomberg News: The bust that’s devastated Appalachia for five years has finally reached cowboy country’s Powder River Basin. For four decades, the 300-mile corridor stretching from Wyoming north into Montana thrived on the strength of the cleaner low-sulfur coal carved from its vast plains. No more. After producing more than 400 million […]

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