US Coal Markets

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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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 […]

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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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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 […]

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More News and Commentary

Illinois Is the Latest State to Acknowledge Electricity-Sector Transition

Utility Dive: It’s no longer just a few states undertaking so-called “utility of the future” proceedings. Ohio, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Maryland and now Illinois have all launched some form of these dockets. The ICC, in a statement announcing the NextGrid proceeding, said “many experts believe that the electric utility industry will evolve more in the […]

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On the Blogs: Peabody May Revisit Bankruptcy

Seeking Alpha: In the U.S., gas and renewable energy are a major problem. Pay attention to where Peabody will sell its coal. Peabody thinks it is going to sell coal at expense of its competitors, and has ambitions for Powder Rover Basin and Western coal production that probably are not achievable. Internationally China controls the […]

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Painful Transition in New Mexico

The Santa Fe New Mexican: For decades, three coal-fired power plants have formed an imposing presence on the landscape from Page, Ariz., to Farmington, N.M., providing electricity to hundreds of thousands of homes but releasing millions of tons of pollutants from their towering smokestacks. But one of the plants has been partially shut down, and […]

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Peabody Bankruptcy Deal Leaves Taxpayers With Mine Cleanup Bill

The Wall Street Journal: A mining company’s debt-cutting plan will leave taxpayers facing a bigger bill for cleaning up nearly two dozen hazardous sites primarily in the central U.S., including a swath of northeast Oklahoma that once produced lead ore for bullets in both World Wars. The 22 properties will be shed by miner Peabody […]

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West Virginia Lawmaker Backs Off Campaign to Eliminate Mine-Safety Inspections

Charleston (W.V.) Gazette: A bill that would eliminate almost all coal-mine safety enforcement by West Virginia inspectors has been pulled and alternative legislation — billed as a compromise between industry and labor — will be made public later this week, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, Industry and Mining said Tuesday. Sen. Randy […]

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In ‘Deepening Industry Decline,’ 2 Coal-Fired Electricity Plants in Ohio Will Close Next Year

Reuters: Electricity company Dayton Power & Light said on Monday it would shut down two coal-fired power plants in southern Ohio next year for economic reasons, a setback for the ailing coal industry. Dayton Power & Light, a subsidiary of The AES Corporation, said in an emailed statement that it planned to close the J.M. […]

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Municipal Utility Says Changing Energy Economics Will Shut 116-Year-Old Kentucky Coal Plant

Kentucky Public Radio: A coal-fired power plant in Western Kentucky will stop burning coal entirely in the next five years. The Owensboro Municipal Utility’s board made the decision last week to retire the second unit of the Elmer Smith power plant in Owensboro, marking the end of the utility’s 116 years of burning coal in […]

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IEEFA Update: Peabody’s Recovery Plan Overstates the Market for Coal

Fragile Back-to-Black Balance Sheet Stands to Leave Investors in the Red; Likely Underperformance on Production and Revenue Forecasts

Last week’s bankruptcy court approval of Peabody Energy’s reorganization plan should be cause for investor alarm. The flaws in the plan are fundamental: First, the company is claiming an increase in coal sales at a time of a declining market. The company in fact faces the likely loss of five to seven million tons per […]

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Case for Closure of Nevada Coal Plant Turns on Economics

Associated Press: Lawyers who’ve preached against the environmental evils of coal-burning power plants for decades are trying to force the closure of the last significant one in renewable energy-rich Nevada with arguments based on a different sort of green: money. “It used to be that we had to come in and say closing these plants […]

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Poll: 83.8% of North Carolinas Oppose Duke Energy Charging Ratepayers for Coal-Ash Cleanup; 83.2% Favor Politicians Who Support Renewables

Charlotte Business Journal: Duke Energy gets bad news in a new poll on N.C. voter attitudes on energy: Three-quarters of voters surveyed are concerned about Duke’s coal-ash ponds and 83.8% say Duke itself should pay for cleaning them up and not charge customers. And 67.5% of voters surveyed in a poll commissioned by Conservatives for […]

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