US Coal Markets

IEEFA Research

IEEFA Report: U.S. Coal Market Erosion Continues

IEEFA Report: U.S. Coal Market Erosion Continues

Lower Production and Consumption as Industry Fails to Compete; a Likely Doubling of Plant Retirements; Low Natural Gas Prices Will Persist; Renewables Will Gain; Little Effect Seen from Regulatory Relief

Feb 1, 2018 (IEEFA) — The U.S. coal industry continued to shrink in 2017, and its trend toward long-term structural decline is all but sure to persist, concludes a study published today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. The report—“U.S. Coal: More Market Erosion Is on the Way”—details how competition from cheap […]

February 1, 2018 Read More →
IEEFA Texas: Latest U.S. Coal Plant Shutdown Stems From a Saga in Which Investors Failed to See Change Coming

IEEFA Texas: Latest U.S. Coal Plant Shutdown Stems From a Saga in Which Investors Failed to See Change Coming

Markets Rendered a Harsh Judgment on a Bad Private-Equity Deal, Cheap Natural Gas, and the Rise of Wind-Powered Electricity

[First of two parts.] Last week Luminant and its new parent company, Vistra, announced the imminent closure of the 1,800-megawatts Monticello Power Plant in North Texas, near the Arkansas and Oklahoma state lines. It’s been a long time coming. The plant has operated at a loss for years, having failed to compete with low natural […]

IEEFA Report: Kayenta Mine Is Unlikely to Find  New Customers Once Navajo Generating Station Closes

IEEFA Report: Kayenta Mine Is Unlikely to Find New Customers Once Navajo Generating Station Closes

A ‘Buyer Beware’ on Peabody Energy Property; Regional Demand for Coal Is in Decline; Export-Market Possibilities Are Bleak; Previous Recent Mine Deals Have Failed

June 29, 2017 (IEEFA.org) — The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) published a report today concluding that Peabody Energy’s Kayenta mine in northeast Arizona is not likely to find new customers or markets once its sole customer, Navajo Generating Station, closes. The Navajo Nation Council voted this week to approve a deal with […]

IEEFA Report: ‘Payment for a Job Well Done,’ a Transition Plan in Anticipation of Shutdowns of Navajo Generating Station and Kayenta Mine

IEEFA Report: ‘Payment for a Job Well Done,’ a Transition Plan in Anticipation of Shutdowns of Navajo Generating Station and Kayenta Mine

Initiative to Limit Job Losses and Community Disruption; Investing in Economic Growth Rather Than Subsidizing Northern Arizona's Failing Coal Industry

June 6, 2017 (IEEFA.org) – The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) today published a report outlining an economic- growth strategy for a region that stands to be set back severely by the closure of the Navajo Generating Station and the Kayenta coal mine. The proposal—“A Transition Plan for Communities Affected by the […]

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 […]

IEEFA Texas: The Beginning of the End for Coal-Fired Electricity Across One of the Biggest Power Markets in the U.S.

IEEFA Texas: The Beginning of the End for Coal-Fired Electricity Across One of the Biggest Power Markets in the U.S.

Report Finds Seven Plants Emblematic of a Fading Industry

We published a research report today describing how the coal-fired electricity industry in Texas is in decline and unlikely to recover in the face of rising competition from other energy sources. Our report—“The Beginning of the End: Fundamental Changes in Energy Markets Are Undermining the Financial Viability of Coal-Fired Power Plants in Texas”—looks specifically at […]

September 12, 2016 Read More →

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 […]

For U.S. Coal, Market Realities Grow Increasingly Harsh

For U.S. Coal, Market Realities Grow Increasingly Harsh

Debt Hurdles, Reclamation and Pension Challenges, Abandonment by Hedge Funds

We distributed a briefing note this week that delves into some of the many pressing difficulties confronting U.S. coal producers. In the note (“Struggling U.S. Coal Companies Face Debt Hurdles, Complications From Reclamation and Pension Obligations, Pressure from Hedge Funds”) we talk about how the cumulative impacts of the industry’s many mounting liabilities—reclamation costs, pension […]

More News and Commentary

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 →

Dire Conditions Persist Across U.S. Coal Industry

S&P Global Market Intelligence: The average number of U.S. coal mine employees and coal production fell in the fourth quarter of 2017 despite positive market indicators and support from the White House. Coal production fell 1.6% and average mining employment fell 2.3% in the fourth quarter compared to the prior period, according to an S&P […]

February 16, 2018 Read More →

Anti-Renewables Think Tank Is Losing Its Battle to Keep an Outdated Missouri Power Plant in Business

ThinkProgress.org: The Heartland Institute — a free market think tank known for its efforts to promote climate science denial — is lobbying to keep one of the country’s oldest coal-fired power plants alive. But it doesn’t seem to be working. In a letter dated January 30 and publicly disclosed on February 9 by the Missouri […]

February 16, 2018 Read More →

Owner of Troubled Mississippi Plant Tells Supplier to Stop Coal Deliveries

S&P Global Market Intelligence: Mississippi Power Co. informed Liberty Fuels Co. LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of North American Coal Corp., to permanently cease all mining and delivery of lignite as part of the utility’s decision to suspend the coal gasification portion of its controversial generation project in Kemper County, Miss. Liberty Fuels was the […]

February 15, 2018 Read More →

Wyoming Threatens Legal Action as Washington State Distances Itself From Coal Export Project

Longview Daily News (Washington): The state of Wyoming is considering suing Washington state over coal. In yet another plot twist in the protracted Millennium Bulk Terminals saga, a bill introduced Friday by Wyoming state Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, would create a $250,000 “coal terminal litigation account.” Under the legislation, the fund could be used to […]

February 12, 2018 Read More →

Trump Administration Said to Be Planning a Regulatory End Run to Bail Out Failing Coal Plants

Bloomberg News: After failing to win a bailout for cash-strapped coal plants, some Trump administration officials are considering emergency orders that could keep at least some coal generators online, people familiar with the discussions said. The approach would require Rick Perry to use his authority as U.S. energy secretary to spur emergency compensation for coal […]

February 9, 2018 Read More →

Little Hope Seen for New Coal Generation in the U.S.

S&P Global Market Intelligence: With Donald Trump in the White House and a Republican majority in Congress, the political environment on the surface would appear to be ripe for a new fleet of coal-fired power plants to find support. But if a proposed coal-fired power plant were to beat the odds stacked against it by […]

February 7, 2018 Read More →

U.S. Coal CEO Sees No Domestic Market Growth

S&P Global Market Intelligence: Two weeks after announcing an export deal to supply two new integrated coal gasification combined-cycle coal-fired power plants in Japan, Cloud Peak Energy Inc. CEO Colin Marshall told S&P Global Market Intelligence that the global market offers the only room for real growth as domestic demand for thermal coal levels out. […]

February 5, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA Webinar: U.S. Coal: More Market Erosion is on the Way (Feb 6, 2 pm. ET)

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis will host a webinar on Tuesday, February 6 (2 pm. ET) to provide an in-depth look at IEEFA’s 2018 Coal Outlook.

David Schlissel, IEEFA director of resource planning analysis, and Tom Sanzillo, IEEFA director of finance, will examine market forces causing a structural decline in the U.S. coal industry that will persist into 2018. The report—“U.S. Coal: More Market Erosion Is on the Way”—details how competition from cheap natural gas, the growing uptake of solar- and wind-powered generation, […]

February 2, 2018 Read More →