US Coal Markets

IEEFA Research

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 […]

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Underperforming U.S. Utility CEO Devoted to Coal and Nuclear Remains Buoyant

Bloomberg News: Tom Fanning is the only energy executive in America willing to bet billions on nuclear power. The chief executive officer of utility giant Southern Co. is renowned for his boundless optimism, which he generously spreads around. He’s chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, co-leader of one industry group and a former […]

December 12, 2017 Read More →

California AG Sides With Oakland in Refusal to Allow Kentucky-Utah Coal-Export Scheme to Proceed

East Bay Times: State Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a brief in support of the city’s ban on the storage and handling of coal and petroleum coke in Oakland. The city ordinance was passed in July 2016, effectively killing plans to transport the ore through a lpanned terminal near the Port of Oakland, on a […]

December 12, 2017 Read More →

Little-Known Buyer of ‘Crown Jewel’ Powder River Basin Coal Mines Sows Doubt in Wyoming

Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune: The coal company that emerged from the ashes of the Alpha Natural Resources bankruptcy is getting out of the Powder River Basin just a little over a year since its formation. Contura Energy announced Monday that it was transferring its Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines to Blackjewel L.L.C., a private company […]

December 12, 2017 Read More →

A Federal ‘Cash for Cronies’ Plan Crafted by Coal Companies

Washington Post: Energy Secretary Rick Perry had been in office less than four weeks when he took a meeting from a coal magnate who had an urgent request. Robert E. Murray, founder of Murray Energy and a major Trump supporter, presented a four-page “action plan” to rescue the coal industry. The plan said that commissioners […]

December 11, 2017 Read More →

International Banks Continue to Back Coal Projects, Contrary to Policy Commitments

Financial Times: Between January 2014 and September 2017 international banks channeled $630bn to the top 120 companies planning to build new coal plants around the world. The researchers highlighted Beijing-based Industrial and Commercial Bank of China as the biggest underwriter for bond and share issues of coal plant developers, providing more than $33bn over that […]

December 11, 2017 Read More →

Editorial: Propping Up U.S. Coal

New York Times: The fate of this boondoggle rests with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, an independent regulator that is not bound to do what the administration wants. Its five commissioners — three Republicans and two Democrats — ought to think carefully before casting their votes. Mr. Perry’s proposal could add around $11 billion a […]

December 8, 2017 Read More →

U.S. Coal, Nuclear Industries Seek Billions in Tax-Credit Bailouts

Axios: Two separate lobbying pushes are underway urging Congress to create new multi-billion dollar tax credits benefiting virtually all coal and nuclear power plants across the United States. The price tags: up to $65 billion for coal and $4.8 billion for nuclear. The efforts show the aggressive lengths companies are going trying to survive in […]

December 7, 2017 Read More →

Kentucky Utility Sees Coal-Powered Electricity All but Disappearing by 2050

WFPL (Louisville): Kentucky’s largest electric utility expects to be powered more than 80 percent by natural gas or renewable energy by the middle of this century — regardless of whether the country’s energy policies change. Last month, PPL — the corporation that owns both Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities — released a climate […]

December 7, 2017 Read More →

West Virginia Mine Lays Off Most of Its Workers

Exponent Telegram (Clarksburg): A mine in Marion County has idled almost all its workers. Enough workers are on hand at the Federal No. 2 mine to prevent the mine from flooding and to keep it ready to reopen, but “it’s a minimal, skeletal crew,” said Phil Smith, communications director for the United Mine Workers of […]

December 6, 2017 Read More →

Coal’s Share of U.S. Electricity-Generation Market Dips to 29.4%

SNL: Coal’s share of U.S. generation sank below 30% in September. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest “Electric Power Monthly” released Dec. 1, over the same period, gas-fired generation declined 7.1% to 116.7 million MWh, accounting for 34.9% of the net total. Meanwhile, coal-fired generation declined 13.9% versus the prior-year period to 98.4 […]

December 4, 2017 Read More →